Oak Bluffs bowling alley rolls into MVC hearing process

Oak Bluffs bowling alley rolls into MVC hearing process

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The proposed bowling alley would be built on the site of a former laundromat on Uncas Avenue.

MV Bowl, the bowling alley/entertainment center that developer Sam Dunn proposes to build in Oak Bluffs, was the subject of a spirited public hearing before the Martha’s Vineyard Commission (MVC) last Thursday.

The commission heard testimony for and against the project, which would be located on the edge of the town’s business district. Owners of abutting residential properties opposed the project, highlighting noise, traffic impact, and the rowdiness that could result from having a full bar in the proposed building. The public hearing will resume next Thursday, February 20.

Up until last week, the project was rolling through the permitting gauntlet quickly. Mr. Dunn first presented his plan to Oak Bluffs selectmen on October 22. The planning board unanimously approved the plan on January 23 and referred it to the MVC as a development of regional impact (DRI), as required by several triggers in the project, including size.

As currently designed, the 13,500-square-foot project, on Uncas Avenue in a crumbling building where a long-vacant laundromat operated, will have 10 bowling lanes, a bar, a restaurant, two golf simulators, a game room, an event room, and two apartments that would qualify as affordable housing. Mr. Dunn estimates the cost of construction at $2.5 million.

After meeting with abutters, Mr. Dunn changed the site plan to move the parking lot and reduce the building from 15,000 to 13,500 square feet, trimming the proposal from 12 lanes to 10.

Abutters object

The MVC hearing room was packed Thursday night. Most of those who spoke were abutters from the mostly seasonal neighborhood.

“This is a quiet, quaint neighborhood. We don’t need loud, rowdy people spilling into the neighborhood at night,” said Byron Barnett, owner of an abutting property on Hiawatha Avenue. “I’m not against bowling, I like to bowl. But there is no reason to have a 62-seat full liquor bar.”

Mr. Barnett suggested that the entertainment center be built by the airport where it could be larger and have more lanes. He requested that Mr. Dunn pay for a detailed police officer during closing hours, and he thanked Mr. Dunn for flipping the site plan so the parking lot would not abut his property. Mr. Barnett also noted that the MVC twice denied commercial development at the location, in 1997 and in 1982.

“Our Island friends alerted us of this project. We knew nothing about it,” said Alison Stewart, co-owner of an abutting property on Uncas Avenue. Ms. Stewart and her sister said they had come from New York and Virginia to register their opposition. She echoed Mr. Barnett’s concerns about noise and rowdy behavior and said that parking was already difficult in the area and that the project would exacerbate the problem. She also expressed concern that the project would diminish the property value of the house, which is currently in the estate of her deceased mother.

Kathryn Sullivan, an attorney for Delaware resident Diane Streett, who owns an abutting property on Hiawatha Avenue, lodged similar objections, and added that without an increase in the proposed level of lighting, criminal activity could increase.

Donald Lambert of Oak Bluffs, owner of a commercial property on upper Circuit Avenue, across the street from the Uncas Avenue location, objected to the notion of a full bar. “I’ll have 10 cars in my own lot in the morning, because people were too drunk to drive home,” he said. Mr. Lambert noted that patrons of bars on Circuit Avenue often parked in his lot at night. He suggested a compromise of beer and wine only, to mitigate the potential problem.

Developer responds

Mr. Dunn, developer of the Tisbury Marketplace and several other projects, is no stranger to the MVC process. Thursday, he addressed the objections one by one.

“I keep hearing this project referred to as a ruse for sports bar,” Mr. Dunn said. “Why would we build one million dollars worth of bowling as a ruse? We assume there will be leagues, teams formed by businesses and friends, birthday parties, office parties and the like. High school kids can bring a date and not break the bank. Sure we’ll have a bar, and you’ll be able to watch a game, it’s an amenity. We’ve agreed to have last call one and a half hours earlier than law permits. If this place was a bar scene, it would be suicide to our business plan. People who get drunk and rowdy will have to go elsewhere.”

Mr. Dunn held up a petition he said contained the signatures of more than 500 Island residents who are in favor of the project.

“This was a total grassroots effort,” Mr. Dunn said. “It took on a life of its own.”  

Mr. Dunn noted that of the objection letters on file with the MVC, more than half were from visitors, not property owners.  

“Every commercial district ends somewhere,” Mr. Dunn said. “It seems to me that people who buy next to commercial property, especially one in this condition, must know it’s very likely something’s going to happen.”

Mr. Dunn also asked the MVC to consider his track record on the Island, particularly the Martha’s Vineyard Film Society theater in the Tisbury Market Place.

Christine Todd, executive director of the Oak Bluffs Association (OBA), said that Mr. Dunn had the unanimous support of the OBA.

“We feel it will bring something the town has needed for a long time,” Ms. Todd said. “This condition exists wherever commercial ends and residential begins.

MVC sets up the pins

MVC chairman Linda Sibley of West Tisbury said that Mr. Dunn needed to more specific about the number of events that would be hosted in the function room. Mr. Dunn had indicated it would average two a week, but Ms. Sibley said the definition would allow him to have an event every night in the summer.  Mr. Dunn agreed to come back with a more specific estimate.

With regard to the noise concerns, the MVC wants an independent consultant to evaluate the findings of Mr. Dunn’s sound engineer. One commissioner suggested that Mr. Dunn investigate bowling pins that are made of materials that reduce noise.

Commissioner Joan Malkin of Chilmark said that she had read a newspaper article sent to the MVC from an opponent that described noise and smoke from a hardwood grill in a bowling alley in New York City. Ms. Malkin said the article “gave her pause.”

Members from the MVC said they would plan a site visit at night to evaluate the lighting.

Based on staff reports, Ms. Sibley said a more detailed traffic study that incorporporated seasonal fluctuations would be needed and that a parking estimate would be needed also, for those times when the complex is filled to legal maximum capacity.

In a conversation with The Times on Friday, Feb. 7, describing the MVC’s request for more information, Mr. Dunn said, “I guess it depends if you want to evaluate a project up for a 100-year storm or evaluate it for normal conditions.”

Pro and con

A review by The Times of the written record submitted as of Thursday revealed that Mr. Dunn has generated support among year-round residents. The vast majority of 34 letters objecting to the project and on file with the MVC are from seasonal residents. The majority in favor, 59 of 60, are from Island residents.

Many opponents cite the unsuitability of the site and its potential to alter the quiet neighborhood.

Yoshino White, in an email dated Feb. 5, said, “This building is completely out of character for the proposed community and should be placed in a more appropriate location on the Island. Why not downtown in Oak Bluffs, why not Vineyard Haven or even Edgartown?”

Amy Wilkinson said she had spent summers in Oak Bluffs since 1967 and her parents purchased a home on Nashawena Park in 1969. “I am extremely concerned that if the bowling center/bar is built,” she said, “we will have problems with disorderly conduct by patrons when leaving the bar, which will inevitably include loud noise when we are trying to sleep.”

Several opponents highlighted the area’s connection to the Island’s African-American history. “It would devalue Highland Park which is part of the African American Historic Trail,” said Sara Farr.

Visitors to the Island also chimed in. In a letter dated Feb. 1, Robert B. Young of Wilmington, Delaware, a self-described “tourist and lover of Martha’s Vineyard,” said, “I hope you will really reject this proposal in favor of perhaps some other enterprise that would be less disruptive to the quaint, small-town atmosphere that makes Martha’s Vineyard so enticing as a vacation destination.”

Many of the emails in favor cited their support for a year-round family venue and Mr. Dunn’s track record. “We feel this would be a great benefit to the Island,” said June and Andrew Flake of Vineyard Haven.

“It will provide a healthy activity choice for the young people of our community and will help to keep seniors active and engaged with others,” said Stephanie Burke, vice president of the Boys and Girls Club.

Abutter Kim Nye of Oak Bluffs saw no problem. “It will be great to see the derelict properties across the street be replaced with a continued business district and something the Island will love,” she said.

Fred Mascolo of Edgartown added his take on the MVC process. “Please stop with the social engineering. You are a land use planning agency … Please do not debate it for six months so the people run out of money, and just approve it because how bad is bowling?”

Comments

  1. I don’t know Mr. Dunn, but I would like to thank him for trying to bring this project to the Island. Please don’t give up!

  2. If we could only figure out why Oak Bluffs is almost devoid of businesses. Could it be that you’re simply not allowed to bring one to town? Let’s look at some of the reasoning here.

    There will be people having a couple of drinks while bowling, which apparently will totally ruin the alcohol free zone known as Circuit Avenue.

    There’s concerns about parking, like that’s something new in Oak Bluffs.

    We need to do a traffic impact study. Newsflash, Circuit Avenue is not exactly an unbeaten path.

    There’s the grill. OMG, you might smell tasty, grilled food from outside, better call the EPA, that’s clearly a clear and present danger to our health.

    Concerns about what kind of events will be held in the function room. I’ll guess more birthday parties and such, and less Weekly Illuminati Meetings.

    The current climate of Oak Bluffs (and the MVC) to aspiring entrepreneurs has me thinking we should just grab all the tumbleweeds plaguing the Southwest right now and import them here, where they can live in their natural, cliched Ghost Town habitat.

  3. I love this project! Someone wants to improve an unsightly property while providing a much needed year round source of fun, and affordable housing with community spirit in mind. Its a win win.

  4. So let me get this straight…on the 5th an article was published linking to a 20 PAGE REPORT about the problems that plague down town OB and specifically
    Circuit Ave, it’s unsightly and unkempt buildings, and the lack of new business in the town, not only that but this 20 page report is literally concluded with a picture of the Historic Dreamland Ballroom flanked by none other than a bowling alley. Two days later we have an article talking about how the MVC is unsure about allowing a bowling alley to take over one of these same unsightly buildings? I am also confused as to how an article about a bowling alley that houses and restaurant with a wood fire grill and the smoke from the grill could have any bearing on anything related to this project other than the fact they both have the words bowling in them.

    1. Remember when that guy bought Webb’s Campground to make a golf course? Everybody and their brother knew way before hand that was his intent. Then he actually paid money, signed papers, that’s when he was told that was never going to happen? Or that time a guy put up a laundromat that was supposed to use recycled water and people knew that wouldn’t work. But, it went through anyway? It then left people’s clothes grey and smelly and it failed and became an eyesore? Good times.

      Forget it Jake, it’s Cottage City,,,,,

  5. Dedicating some spaces to overnight parking for people who live in apartments in town would be nice. Especially since there is a study recommending more apartments. That is something that is sorely needed – even if the town did it on the street. A dozen spaces… ?? more or less…

    1. Shouldn’t the landlords of the buildings be responsible for providing adequate parking?

      1. No. Simply because it is impossible. There is no logic to that whatsoever. Take that statement and apply it to any neighborhood. Let’s take for example Beacon Hill in Boston. Where do they get the land? Nowhere, that’s where. So the city takes the initiative and makes the entire hill resident parking only. That is how it is done.

        1. It’s not impossible. In many towns they require every business (that includes apartments and seasonal rentals) to supply a certain amount of parking based on type of business and expected occupancy. If the business owner does not supply sufficient parking they may request town approval to pay a parking offset (a fee for each spot they are not providing). The funds are then used (hopefully) to implement a variety of parking solutions such as town lots/garages, remote lots with shuttles, mass transit solutions and a variety of other programs.
          The parking or lack thereof should be factored into the decision by anyone looking to rent or purchase a residence if it is important to them.
          I’m sure if they put a permitted parking area in place and then charged for the permits there would also be complaints.

          1. That is quite different from saying that every landlord who has a property in the center of a town where no private parking is currently available should provide parking. That is an impossibility. But then to take it to the next step and implement solutions such as town lots/garages as you suggest is also problematical. What town lots? What town garages? If the goal is to provide apartments above the retail establishments in the center of town, as this study suggests, then parking would be nice. It is not necessary however because first of all, the shuttle, mass transit solutions that you recommend and that you recommend the landlords pay for (another problematical idea) are already in place. There is hardly anywhere on the planet that has better mass transit in place than the center of Oak Bluffs. Yes, overnight parking is desirable, and would be vastly beneficial. But this can be done by the wave of an administrative invisible hand. Make more space available for overnight parking. Make it a condition for the approval of the bar/restaurant/bowling alley if you will. No skin off their parking lot. Or simply approve more streets for overnight parking near the center of town. Be out by a certain time or be towed. That would improve the parking situation in Oak Bluffs, and probably save a lot of people from a court appearance. If I understand the limit for drinking and driving two glasses of wine or two beers will put a person over the limit. That is a pretty low bar, but it is what it is and people have to adjust accordingly. Overnight parking would be great. There are many, many taxi companies that are more than capable of transporting people if need be.

        2. Or we could be more like NYC, where there is no parking, so nobody owns a car. They ride bikes and take cabs.

          1. True. You can take a cab for 3 bucks in NYC for 5 blocks and be where you want to be. They constantly go past every street and avenue. Bikes are a great idea. Nobody owning a car on Martha’s Vineyard though? Seems a bit idealistic. But I like it. Even if it is just a pleasant thought.

  6. Yes, Yes, Yes! Affordable apartments that are needed. A new, fresh and family friendly island entertainment area. Re-conditioning of out-date, and unsightly buildings. The possibility of another place for the community to enjoy living here year round. And something I seldom here about mentioned in articles….the young people of MV! They need a place to hang-out AND work through the winter……Yes to this project! Why do we as an island community let off-island summer-residents control so much of our decisions?

  7. Let’s see, about every 15 years a project is brought before the MVC and they put a kibosh to it. Retail store, condos now an entertainment center. What exactly does commercial zoning mean if not commercial? And we get 35 years of increasing blight–great work MVC!! I can see the future–the next time in about another 15 years they’ll tell the poor owner of the property that the building is now historic and they’ll have to spend millions to restore it!

    1. Where did you read that the MVC put the kibosh to it? No such thing happened. Some commissioners had questions that needed clarification and gave Mr. Dunn a couple of weeks to prepare answers. Did you even read the article?

      1. Just attempting preemptive sarcasm. And trying to figure out why a retail store 32 years ago was so offensive when compared to alternatives. And feeling bad for the expensive hoops that applicants appear to have to jump through. It seems to me the local town boards should bear the burden of weeding out the concerns being discussed here.

  8. “One commissioner suggested that Mr. Dunn investigate bowling pins that are made of materials that reduce noise.”
    Really?
    Oh goodness, yes, make the balls and pins out of that foam rubber nerf stuff.
    MVC Commissioners: you are not doing yourselves any favors when you start talking this kind of silly.
    The last time I heard anything as silly it was (some years ago) at an Edgartown Sign Committee hearing. One of the committee members peered over their nose and told me, “We don’t like the color red.”

    1. I don’t really bowl much ever, but the sound the pins make when hit is pretty cool. It seems like every time there’s a decent project in front of the mvc they nit pic about something, also the part about moving it to the airport sounds exciting because it brings tourists there, so after they bowl, they can walk around and visit local propane and storage companies, great way to keep the tourist dollar in the airport business park!

    2. That was a pretty silly comment Tom, the last silly comment I remember from the MVC (God, there’s been so many) was when the bank was built and they wanted the ATM to only be used during the day and not be made available after hours

  9. “Christine Todd, executive director of the Oak bluffs association one of the only public officials who attended” the OBA is a private group with a VERY small membership and the director is in no way a “public official” there needs to be serious clarification on this point. Enough people are already being mislead.

  10. Increased lighting could increase criminal activities? Check me if I’m wrong,but I’m pretty sure most criminals prefer it dark…..

    1. That sentence made no sense to me either. Statistically crime goes up when the sun goes down, as both you and I know.

  11. It baffles me why so many people would be against such a good idea. Bringing a dilapidated building back into being productive-GOOD, Having an entertainment venue that will reach across many age groups-GOOD, Having a reasonable cost venue to host a Birthday party or some other Type of event-GOOD, More income for the Town-GOOD, Offering visitors to such an entertainment type of venue food and drink-GOOD, More crime because of lighting-Ridiculous, The sound of bowling pins being too loud-Ridiculous. For an Island where good plans are constantly criticized and yet everyone complains that there is nothing to do, and Oak Bluffs is in need of repair to all the run down buildings the problem is clear: Way too much talk, and not much real action. Here is a gentleman, Mr. Dunn. That has had several successful projects, has clearly has made a big effort, and yet people still complain, and The MVC should be giving him a pat on the back, not throwing any road block in his way. For such a great place (The Island) we sure are missing the Boat.

    1. The question is why are all improvements made so time-consuming and difficult while the MVC does nothing about protecting the Island from owners that do nothing and let their buildings become abandoned eye-sores in the middle of our commercial districts.

      1. From the comments here and other places it’s obvious there’s a profound ignorance of what the MVC does and can do. They review big projects to make sure the Vineyard doesn’t end up looking like Rt 28 ( or Rt 132) in Hyannis. They rarely deny a project. They can’t just go out and grab problems, ie run down buildings, and make the owners fix them up. That can and should be handled on a local level.
        Everyone agrees this island is a special place yet forget what has kept it that way.

        1. So a fixing a run down building that looks like it belongs next to the run down car dealerships, motels, restaurants on Rt. 28 and making it look nice and running a local business in it is the same as preventing the island from looking like Rt. 28??

          1. Fixing run down building should be a priority for every town yet there’s no authority vested in the MVC to force such change.

          2. No, I never said there was, but they seem to like to get in the way of it happening.

          3. I’m trying to educate people who go off on rants about their perception of what the MVC has the ability to do. Perhaps with some education these people will turn their focus towards the local town leaders who do have the ability to remedy blight within the towns.

        2. I believe you’re wrong. the MVC has the power to set rules for certain zones and under Mass law they have the ability to set a zoning ordinance or by-law that may define and regulate nonconforming uses and structures abandoned or not used for a period of two years or more.

          Yes, the towns can do this as well, but if a single project in an area is of such concern to bring about MVC concern than, say, two larger buildings in a more prominent area certainly should be of greater concern. This is an Island-wide problem.

          Your last line is key, “what has kept it that way.” Well, buildings don’t “keep” they degrade and depreciate over time. Keeping the Island a special place means making sure what is/was here doesn’t fall into disrepair. Just making sure that new projects “conform” in some way and ignoring all that is here is doing less than half the job.

          1. So, I’m wrong that Edgartown, Vineyard Haven and Oak Bluffs have abandoned buildings in key commercial/gateway zones?

            Or, I must be wrong there are personal residences on major Island roads that look like dumps/flea markets?

            Perhaps, you agree those exist, but I’m wrong that those properties reduce the value of their neighbors and take away from the “beauty” or local econtomy of the Island?

            Or am I wrong about buildings degrading and depreciating over time?

            So, if the degrading, and abandoned buildings are a concern if you believe them to be harming that which the MVC is supposed to protect, you start with the MVC enabling act: MA St. 1977, c. 831

            “…by protecting these values from development and uses which would impair them, and by promoting the enhancement of sound local economies.

            Notice the word “development” and then the word “use”. One could suggest that “use” is separate from development and could apply to the use of a building no longer promoting a sound local economy.

            Basically, the MVC is supposed to, among other things…
            Provide for “the protection of the health, safety and general welfare of island residents and visitors requires the establishment of a regional commission whose purpose shall be to ensure that henceforth the land usages which will be permitted are those which will not be unduly detrimental to those values or to the economy of the island.”

            Mass Zoning Laws: https://malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartI/TitleVII/Chapter40A/Section6

            There are other sections of state law dealing with urban renewal that could potentially apply.

            I’m not suggesting that the towns or MVC can take properties, but they can likely place regulations on properties within their areas of concern.

            The idea is to fight to keep the Vineyard unique…and that means regulating what’s being built as well as what’s already existing.

            Sure, an existing property owner might fight against being required to keep their property from becoming a blight,, but isn’t that at least as important for the MVC and the local towns as is one regarding the shape of a parking lot or the makeup of a bowling pin?

          2. Well, since you ask… Vineyard Haven does have several run down commercial buildings in a commercial area. First there is the old Hancock Hardware building slated for demolition on Beach Road, then there is the old fish processing plant adjacent Packer property that is actually owned by the town, then there is the moved building on Packer property that has been boarded up since a long time ago, and then there is the now abandoned boat being built on the Boch property, also on Beach Road – though the builder does claim he will launch in May – don’t hold your breath. And of course there is also the Pyewacket’s flea market dump, also on Beach Road, and if you really want to get technical, there is the Waterfront Commercial District zoning that qualifies as well.

          3. I agree with your points , but again, it is not within the MVC’s jurisdiction to remedy run down buildings. There is no mechanism for it to do so.

          4. I am suggesting that the langauge of their enabling legislation gives them that ability and it might be worth the effort for them to try. They could also require new developments to agree to certain levels of ongoing maintenance when they seek approval.

            Show the individual towns also being doing this? Of course.

          5. But the MVC has the authority to prevent maintenance of unattractive and run down buildings, and in the name of preserving Island character.

  12. As a year-round Oak Bluffs resident, I suggest that anyone who is thinking negatively about this project should take a walk around the existing building and neighborhood. I walk through there every day. This project will only improve this shabby, neglected area. For the seasonal abutters to complain is incredibly selfish and shortsighted. I live a few blocks from the building and I applaud this plan!

    1. If you believe that the abutters do not have a valid complaint then put yourself in their shoes. Would you like to have a bar with 83 seats next to your home? They are being mercilessly dissed by islanders. Where is the compassion? Where is there some sense of trying to understand what the stress of living next to a bar would be like. Perhaps a bowling alley and affordable housing – or better yet green housing – and a Leeds certified building with bowling alleys. That would be a proud accomplishment. There is no consideration for the environment in this plan. None. And none for the neighbors who are trying to maintain their right to living a peaceful existence. You honestly think that dressing the building up justifies calling the neighbors “incredibly selfish and shortsighted”? Really?

      1. I wouldn’t buy next to a commercial district. They should have factored that into their purchase decision. This is no different than the people that buy homes near an airport and then start complaining about the noise.
        It would be different if the zoning was being changed.

        1. I believe, and forgive me if I am wrong, but this was to be a laundromat that used water that was recycled somehow. That the concept never actually worked. But if it had, the neighbors would have been buying into a laundromat, not a bar with a restaurant and a bowling alley attached. This not to say that it will not happen, or that it will, but it is to say that some understanding and compassion for those who have what seems to be what any reasonable person putting themselves in their shoes would say is “a legitimate concern”. Whether you personally feel that way, is up to you.

          1. No, the residents were buying next to a commercially zoned property. I would expect that also effected the price that they paid for their properties.
            As I said, if this wasn’t commercially zoned and a change was being requested then I would be sympathetic. By the way, being near a laundromat would be no great shakes either. You’re talking a lot of traffic, noise and heat being exhausted.
            So, should a few people that should have known what they were buying into be able to deny everyone else on the Island a facility like this?

          2. Again, there was not this furor when the Laundromat idea was proposed. This was something Joe Eldridge, architect, came up with. And it was supposed to work very cleanly, without a lot of noise, pollution, and the whole idea was to make it as green as possible. A shame it did not work, but it didn’t. So, your point being that they bought into a commercial area, which was not zoned for a bar/restaurant and which is about to be, seems to be a large difference. But, of course, you are entitled to your opinion. Some people might agree that these neighbors have a right to voice their concerns, and they may be legitimate concerns. And of course, there is an awful lot of money on the table here with wages, taxes to the town, insurance policies, maintenance and what not.

          3. Did they get a zoning variance? I thought it was zoned in an area that included Restaurant/Bar use. If not, then the neighbors would have had a much stronger argument during the variance process.

          4. Two of the neighbors doing most of the complaining were once zoned commercial b1 and at their request had their zoning reduced to residential! Factor that in.

          5. before it was a laundromat it was a hardware store. it would be nice to have a place to go where there is no alcohol served, wouldn’t that make a difference to the neighbors? unfortunately modern business plans include alcohol on the menu to make a profit. If the M.V.C. and the town of O.B. want to, make a condition that alcohol is to be served only with food to patrons seated at tables.

          6. Where, in any of these articles, is this a bar with a restaurant and bowling alley attached? As someone who quite enjoys both bowling and having a couple drinks, it is few an far between that you see a Bowling Alley without an attached Bar and the occasional concession stand or restaurant. That you are trying to turn this around and say that it is a bar that people might bowl and eat at is absolutely ludicrous.

          7. The article states… “I’m not against bowling, I like to bowl. But there is no reason to have a 62-seat full liquor bar.” and so if you have 10 bowling lanes, which, as a bowler, is not much, and you have a 62-seat full liquor bar, which is a hell of a lot of drinking, then it might appear to some few people that it is more of a bar with bowling attached to get it passed. Just maybe. Absolutely no objections to a bowling alley, and 30 lanes would be even better, but 10 lanes? What’s not to love about bowling… and is not mentioned whether it is candle pin or duck pin. Sort of an important detail really. Where is it that the income from this project will come? Will there be a million dollars in revenue from bowling and a hundred thousand dollars in revenue from the bar, or will it be equal, or the other way around. These are legitimate questions, thank you for raising the issue.

          8. That is what the article states, which is also just their way of manipulating language and numbers. If you look at the plans, which you either haven’t or don’t care to, there are 20 seats at the bar and 32 seats at tables, which is only 52 seats. The number 62 is just an occupancy number, you can walk in to any establishment on the island, and in fact the whole state of Mass, and see their posted Occupancy Number. Although I don’t have the actual numbers at my disposal, the same logic could be used to say that Nancy’s is a 200 seat bar,Chowder Company is a 120 seat bar, and Park Corner is a 40 seat bar and they all just happen to serve some food. Stop arguing for people who have no valid point. This island and this town need some things to change and to start that change we need to increase new businesses coming in to the town, instead of the trend of them all leaving.

          9. Hard liquor is where the money is, it has the highest profit margin. To make a project like this work on paper you really need it. There really won’t be that much of a difference as long as management promotes responsible serving.

          10. I don’t know the last time I got “high on whiskey”, but I do distinctly remember the last time I went bowling, because you have to leave the island to do it. To be completely honest with you we ordered beer towers (these equate to between 11-12 beers), since we were with a mixed group of about 8 guys and 6 girls, several of the girls went and ordered cocktails because they didn’t want beer. Continuing on with what Finzz said below, the profit margins on liquor are often over 3 times that of beer (I can give you more exact figures if you want to continue this argument) and when consumed responsibly and served responsibly is no more dangerous than beer. I don’t know about you, but I have gone through numerous Alcohol Serving courses including TIPS and ServSafe and the one thing that they all always have in common is one 12 oz beer = one 5 oz wine = one 1.5 oz (80 proof) liquor. So I will ask you, please enlighten me why beer and wine is safer and what your sob story about an alcoholic from the 50′s has anything to do with this?

          11. Okay – got it. Bowling is impossible without hard liquor to support it. Fine. Will underage people be allowed in? That would make it unprofitable would it not? Whatever. Go for it.

          12. It would be a serious challenge to make a profit without it. Why wouldn’t underage people not be allowed in? Restaurants serve hard liquor, underage people are allowed.
            Commercial airliners serve hard liquor, underage people are allowed to fly.

      2. something needs to be done about this eyesore. it is just out of sight from Mom’s house.

        1. Okay – everyone has made their point, and that point is that hard liquor is absolutely necessary for there to be a profitable bowling alley which everyone can enjoy. Fair enough – the cards are on the table. It all depends on how it is done. Done right it will be a real asset. Done wrong, it will be the opposite. One might then conclude that the details need to be worked out so that it becomes the great asset to Oak Bluffs that is hoped for. It is good though that it will be thought through and the Commission can hopefully really help in the process.

  13. I’ve advocated a bowling alley on the Vineyard for years. I applaud Mr. Dunn’s efforts. It can only benefit year round residents-especially island kids who have few entertainment opportunities during the winter months. I support this idea.

  14. “Commissioner Joan Malkin of Chilmark said that she had read a newspaper
    article sent to the MVC from an opponent that described noise and smoke
    from a hardwood grill in a bowling alley in New York City. Ms. Malkin
    said the article “gave her pause.””

    (Bad word) Really? Of all the smells permeating the streets of New York City, grill smoke was what went over the line?

  15. I would nix the apartments. Why would anyone want to live over a bowling alley.

      1. The apartments might throw a monkey wrench in the whole deal. The septic system is supposed to be state of the art composting. A couple washing machines running 24/7 would mess that up.

        1. No sign of a laundry room in the floor plan, so they will probably walk down the street like 90% of the people that live down town do…lets get some positivity for a change?

          1. Well, actually, there are washer/dryer combination machines that are quite good for doing small loads of laundry. They operate on 110 volt, do not require venting to the outside, and do a pretty good job. They take about 4 hours to do a load, so trying to have all your friends share your machine is a bit problematical. Crane Appliance can get them, Compact Appliance online has them as well as Amazon. They are energy star rated as well. Very much in use in Europe. Great for something like this.

  16. Seems tome that they are trying to hide a restaurant / bar behind a fee bowling balls. Maybe the commission should follow up on mr Dunn’s promises made at the tisbury market place for the movie theater

    1. Really,..think about it. If he wanted a bar or restaurant he would do just that. It’s a bowling alley with food and beverage. This will not be the place to go for a relaxing dinner and drinks, think of the ambient sound a bowling alley produces. When you go bowling things like this happen,…”Wanna get a pitcher of beer? Sure, let’s split a pizza too.” Demoing a building that is in shambles and building a bowling alley would be an awfully expensive and complicated way to sneak a restaurant in.

      1. My guess is he could just buy one of the bar/restaurants that are available at far lower cost than this project would cost.

        1. Exactly – just pick and choose from one of the other 13,500 sq ft buildings with parking for 40 cars and all new well designed everything including a game room a bowling alley and seating for over 50 people. There must be tons of them. Okay – it was a guess, but maybe you would like to re-think that. This is a much better plan.

          1. My post was in response to someone suggesting that the bowling alley was just an excuse to open up a bar (read JSM’s post).

  17. we need bowling more than wee need the comishion, we need something healthy to do in the winter, and it is in the commercial district, please vote yes