To the Editor:
I’ve written to Charles C. Hajjar about his request for a special permit to create 10 new apartments at the Four Flags condominium complex at Post Office Square (The Triangle) in Edgartown, currently under review as a DRI at the M.V. Commission.
These apartments may house up to 40 or more occupants. His proposal says “the apartments are being created to provide year-round, stable housing for tenants in the year-round workforce on the Island,” and the “projected market for the apartments is year-round residents that do not plan on using a motor vehicle on a regular basis.”
Mr. Hajjar, I agree with the M.V. Housing Needs Assessment and the Island Plan, which you cite in your proposal, both of which call for more year-round rental apartments on the Island. I do admire your intention to improve this situation, but I respectfully suggest that you locate them in a residential area, where there is little or no traffic congestion.
Your property at the Triangle directly abuts arguably the second most congested traffic area on the Island, after Vineyard Haven’s Five Corners.
Most working people here do have vehicles (e.g., compact car, an SUV, a large truck or van, etc.). Teachers, lawyers, medical professionals, storekeepers, builders and their crews, subcontractors and their crews, suppliers, scores of other working people who need their own vehicles to carry the tools of their trade/profession to their work sites and/or to be independent as their day necessitates.
Also, work sites may be far distant from major roads’ bus drop-off points, yet you cite that “a majority of tenants will choose this location because of its proximity to town and the bus lines.”
It is only logical that your “projected market” of tenants will need their own transportation, and we should be projecting for most rather than for least. Isn’t that what common sense planning and approvals are about?
Your tenants have a right to own vehicles, and the proposed expansion of 23 parking spaces doesn’t begin to fulfill the potential greater demand from your tenants. There may be several driving age persons living in each unit. Where would you have them park without denying spaces that your commercial tenants require? And if they ever did take daytime buses, doesn’t that presuppose their vehicles would occupy those spaces all day?
Here’s our reality in the Four Flags parking lot:
1) Parking spaces now are often used by employees of commercial tenants and their delivery vehicles, therefore lost to customers.
2) Parking spaces now are already at a premium or unavailable at peak times of day and at peak seasons (spring through fall).
3) Even in winter, we now easily lose approximately eight parking spaces to plowed snow mounds. On March 15, at 11:45 pm the lot was full.
4) Hundreds of P.O. Box holders try to park at Four Flags daily (except Sunday) — just one of many businesses using this one parking lot.
I hope we will keep reality in mind, as we need to plan for the possible, not the intended. There can be no enforcement of who is parking in those spaces, which are already unsatisfactory for their intended use.
We may be close to the point of discouraging frustrated people from traveling the Vineyard Haven and Oak Bluffs Roads, which converge at the Triangle traffic jams. They can take other routes to bypass this congestion and shop elsewhere.
Mr. Hajjar, please relocate your thoughtful desire to help our year-round population. Our Island has had incredible contributions from numerous benefactors; some names we know, some have been anonymous. By relocating your proposed apartments, you will be helping us to keep Edgartown a friendly and accessible destination.