Alliance Community Church will submit new plans to the MVC

Alliance Community Church will submit new plans to the MVC

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Alliance Community Church, 1 Ryan's Way, Oak Bluffs — File photo by Michelle Gross

After being denied a permit to expand its building and church activities in December, representatives of the Alliance Community Church are poised to resubmit a new application to the Martha’s Vineyard Commission (MVC), The Times learned Friday.

The MVC took up the church’s planned expansion project as a development of regional impact (DRI) after representatives of the church, formerly known as Nova Vida, asked for a permit to expand their existing property at 1 Ryan’s Way in Oak Bluffs.

MVC executive director Mark London told The Times that he met with pastor Valci Carvalho Monday to discuss the changes to their application.

“It’s very rare that an application is denied,” Mr. London said. “When that happens, the applicant is entitled to resubmit or reapply,” Mr. London said in a telephone conversation with The Times. “They had talked to me after the original decision and said they intended to resubmit. Now they’re working on a new building plan that will have less impact on the abutters and on the road, and apparently they’re working on a site plan and a revised set of offers.”

Mr. London referred to MVC DRI regulation 8.6 titled “Resubmittal of Denied Application,” which provides that “Any DRI that has been denied may be refiled at any point, but the applicant shall be apprised that should the proposal be identical or substantially unchanged from that which was denied, then the applicant runs the risk of having the newly submitted application meet the same fate since substantially unaltered or unchanged proposals would give the commission no reasons to change the reasoning for the original denial.”

Mr. Carvalho said he is hopeful that the new application will be a win-win for everyone involved.

“We moved the building and changed the parking lot, landscape and lighting design,” Mr. Carvalho told The Times. “It’s a completely new proposal, and we will address all of the issues and concerns the commissioners have, and of course we will try to address the neighbors’ concerns as well.”

The church had applied to build a 4,500-square-foot addition that would include a 4,500-square-foot basement. When added to the existing 7,000-square-foot building already on the property, the proposed expansion would have resulted in a total square footage of 16,084.

Mr. Carvalho said the new plans call for reducing the size and scale of the building significantly as well as moving the building farther away from abutters on Ryan’s Way.

Do over

Located in a residential neighborhood on Ryan’s Way off the Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road, the size and use of the church have been the subjects of an ongoing debate between neighbors and church representatives ever since the MVC first approved the 150-seat church as a development of regional impact (DRI) in 2008. Then, the church was approved for a 150-seat chapel on the second floor of the existing building and a 28-child day care center on the bottom floor. The day care center has since moved, and building plans have been dormant.

On December 19, the MVC denied the church a permit to expand its building and church activities. The 4-3 vote was based largely on the impact an expansion would have on the residential neighborhood.

Two commissioners who were eligible to vote, Linda Sibley and Erik Hammarlund, abstained. Four of the 13 commissioners present were not eligible to vote due to absences during the public hearing process. They excused themselves from the meeting before the discussion and vote.

Christina Brown of Edgartown, Fred Hancock of Oak Bluffs, and Douglas Sederholm of Chilmark voted to approve the project with conditions. John Breckenridge of Oak Bluffs, Joshua Goldstein of Tisbury, James Joyce of Edgartown, and Brian Smith of West Tisbury voted no.

Clarence Barnes of Tisbury, Madeline Fisher of Edgartown, Leonard Jason Jr. of Chilmark, and Joan Malkin of Chilmark were present but recused themselves.


  1. Walk through the place. Its a boarding house that also contains a church. Whats the tax status? There’s a meeting area on the first floor for religious services and the basement and 2nd floor have bedrooms. Are they in the plans? Does the building inspector and health dept know? Is it currently zoned for mixed-use as a boarding house and church?

  2. A little late to complain isnt it? Looks like we got overrun several years ago and nobody said ZIP!

  3. So, a Christian Church wants to do the Christian thing and not only provide a worship space, but, also minimal housing to try to help out some who are in need. Well, I guess the MVC will get you and your little church too, (evil witch laugh).

    1. Your tone seems to imply that since this is “a Christian Church wanting to do the Christian thing” it should get a pass..
      Would it be different if it were a mosque ?

        1. no not really implying that.. Sorry if it came off that way, it was not my intention to target you. I can see how you could read that and think that.

          But, it is clear that in America Christian organizations are given preferential treatment. I do think Muslims are particularly discriminated against..
          Again, sorry .

          1. Thanks for distracting from my point that no good deed would go unpunished by the MVC into a personal diatribe about religious discrimination.
            Since I’m already typing. Is it me, or does the “we usually don’t let people reapply” sound a tad on the arrogant side? I said it before, pack of bullies.

  4. If it’s not commercially zone, how can you have the biggest bussiness in the world, pushed on a residential area. Tax exempt to boot

    1. OMG…Thank you Steve…We turned the Body Shop into a Boarding House to help our ISLAND kids coming back to the island with housing. When my husband got sick, 9 years ago (argh) we had to sell it. The church bought it ! I wish people would stop telling the money people HOW TO SPEND THEIR MONEY !!! It’s like the kids tennis center, if you were one who complained and said “why isn’t he doing it this way” shame on you !!!! We have do-gooders all over this Island and I’m personally tired of the people that don’t do the work telling the people that do …How To Do It !! Enough said.!

      1. Thank God it got sold otherwise at this point it would be a animal shelter. Pull all the dogs from other islands so we can be swamped with them next. Not to mention there’s more on the islands they come from born everyday. The church in it’s previous form is entirely to big. Enough said!

      2. I would not brag being part of the problem! Seems you have done the opposite of helping our “””ISLAND””” kids coming back to the island with housing.

        I say shame on you !!!!