MVC concludes Stop & Shop public hearing process

MVC concludes Stop & Shop public hearing process

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The Martha’s Vineyard Commission held its eighth and final public hearing Thursday night before a packed audience. A decision is expected in June.

Marie Laursen, a vocal opponent of the Stop & Shop proposal, expressed her views on the subject to the Martha's Vineyard Commission Thursday night. — Ralph Stewart

The Martha’s Vineyard Commission (MVC) concluded the public portion of its review of the Stop & Shop expansion project Thursday night before a roomful of opponents and supporters in the Tisbury senior center.

The MVC agreed to keep the public record open until May 8 for written comment. A decision is expected when the commission meets on June 5.

There was little new in the arguments for and against the project, which has ground through the MVC regulatory process as a development of regional impact (DRI) since July. But there was a new twist — opposition to the plan by two of the three Tisbury selectmen, Tristan Israel and Jon Snyder.

Stop & Shop proposes to consolidate three abutting properties and remove the existing buildings, including its existing store, in order to construct a new two-story, 30,500-square-foot market. The plans also include a parking lot for 41 vehicles in an enclosed area on the ground level beneath the market where trucks would unload.

Tisbury planning board member Tony Peak told commissioners his board had unanimously concluded that it could not support the size of the proposed market.

“At this time, the board has come to the conclusion that the project is too big and relied too much on public space and town resources to satisfy the basic elements of DRI requirements,” Mr. Peak said.

He urged the MVC to deny the Stop & Shop proposal. “The inability of the applicant to modify this plan requires us to look at this proposal, not as a template which may be adjusted to fit within the unique circumstances of this location, but as an absolute, which is incompatible with and inappropriate for the heart of a small New England village.”

Tisbury selectman Tristan Israel said he would like to see a smaller store.

“I would like them to come back with a smaller, more tasteful plan and spend some time in the community and listen to all the sensibilities on all sides of the issue and then come back,” he said. “So I guess I’m urging you to deny this project.”

Tisbury selectman John Snyder said he spoke not as a representative of the town, but from his own personal perspective. “I find this design simply too large,” he said. “It bothers me that there is so much assumed to come from the town and I would also urge that we would go for a redesign, a smaller store, and not approve it as it is.”

West Tisbury resident Carol Gannon Salguero, one of the few voices of support Thursday, said she is a proponent of the new store, size and all.

“I want to speak very strongly in favor of the new Stop & Shop and I don’t object at all to the new design,” she said. “I hope that the commission approves the project and I hope that we can get on with getting a new Stop & Shop.”

Geoghan Coogan of the Edmond G. Coogan Law Office in Vineyard Haven, who represents Stop & Shop, for the final time described the benefits of the project, which he said includes the revitalization of Vineyard Haven.