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.
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.