A preposterous proposal

A preposterous proposal

To the Editor:

This letter is to voice our concern over the proposed new Stop & Shop supermarket complex in Vineyard Haven. The regional impact on this already troubled waterfront must be taken seriously, and the Martha’s Vineyard Commissioners be held accountable to the mission statement defining their organization: “….to help carefully manage growth so that the Vineyard’s unique environment, character, social fabric and sustainable economy are maintained as development takes place.”

Let’s look at four issues which are seriously problematic:

1. Traffic. All traffic studies in this area have unequivocally determined that it is a failed system and that the huge increased size of the proposed supermarket will make matters worse, choking our streets with more vehicles. For Stop & Shop to offer more than $1 million as compensation or mitigation is not a solution to this unacceptable situation.

2. Size. The current Stop & Shop, including prep area, the former Midnight Farm (MF), and basement stationery store, is 19,014 square feet. The retail part of the store where everyone shops is currently only 6,490 square feet. The proposed new store has a footprint of 114 feet by 237 feet and is 39 feet high at Water Street and 29 feet high at Cromwell Lane [due to the slope of the parking lot]. The total proposed size is 48,964 square feet, including the parking garage. No amount of creative measuring or legal jargon can dispute the fact that the new building is two and half times as large as the current space that they have now that stretches from Water Street to Cromwell Lane. The new proposal is a big box store totally incompatible with the Vineyard and an offense to arriving and departing passengers.

3. Economy. It is an undisputed fact that the encroachment of a mammoth size corporate chain store in the midst of a modest waterfront village will invariably compromise the economic sustainability and quality of life that we are so fortunate to enjoy. If Stop & Shop is incapable of downsizing their proposal to a model acceptable with the scale and sensibility of the Vineyard, they should look elsewhere for their development.

4. Environment. We are very concerned about the deterioration of ground and surface waters (Vineyard Haven Harbor) from toxic automobile leakage collecting in the storm water runoff from a huge roof and parking garage, and annual storms flood the area regularly due to high winds and rising tides.

For now, commissioners, please honor your mandate clearly outlined in your mission statement and deny this preposterous proposal.

Nat and Pam Benjamin

Vineyard Haven


  1. Another ridiculous letter, I’m surprised you didn’t bring in something about the endangered moths into your story. I laughed at the hypocrisy because you are a hypocrite if you drive downtown and park in that parking lot. You contribute and will contribute to the exact pollution problem your letter stands on.

  2. I would argue that a worse offense to the arriving and departing passengers is the status quo. Not only the existing property and the current state of that supermarket, but the entire harbor front area is in shambles.
    From Boch Park (Box Park?) to the drawbridge, the harbor is an eyesore. It’s not quaint. It’s just old and dilapidated.

    1. The town always has the option of taking the land by emminet domain, and paying Stop and Shop the fair market value.

      1. ..and do what with the property? I’m not sure you know how eminent domain works.

        1. I know exactly how it works. Mostly, I was being facetious, but if what S&S proposes is so preposterous, as the writer of the letter claims, and far better uses of the property are so evident, let the town take it and do what all the critics want: make a park, make parking lot, make cheap housing. Pay S&S fairly, and get to work with the other projects so vital. Otherwise, clam up.

          1. I get what you are saying, but you can’t take a business by eminent domain and turn it into a park. And if you could, there are way more appropriate properties in that area that could be designated.

          2. Actually, from the legal point of view, the Supreme Court’s ruling a few years back essentially gives government the power and right to take private property for any reason, as long as it fulfils a very nebulous “public interest.” That even includes taking private property and conveying it to another private party, if the subsequent development fulfils that “public interest.”

          3. I did not mean it to be an argument, as I said, I was mostly being facetious. You sound like a reasonable guy.

          4. Yeah, but you’re civil, probably like the Red Sox. That’s common ground enough.

  3. Is this writer the same that operates a wooden boat building yard?
    I have to tell you that parking there in conjunction with the MV Times building is worse than parking at Stop and Shop. That along with the Boch property the Desorcy property are in worse shape than Stop and Shop’s property and the run off of those, which I am sure runs straight into the harbor without a storm water run off plan, is more damaging than a company that has to move forward WITH a storm water run off plan.

    The building is attractive and a huge plus including parking. Vote YES MVC