The Martha’s Vineyard Commission (MVC) last week unanimously approved a proposal to construct a lumberyard on a parcel of land off High Point Lane in Tisbury with one major condition: Chris Dias of Specialty Builders’ Supply must successfully present an engineered design for road access off High Point Lane.
Mr. Dias had sought to access his business location off a deeded right of way from State Road that is shared with Island Cove Mini-Golf. That raised strenuous objections from mini-golf property owners Mary and Ray Gosselin, who said the decision to access the property over the existing easement posed a danger to families and children. The Gosselins, who have the property on the market, pressed Mr. Dias to access his property off High Point Lane.
Following about an hour and a half of deliberation last Wednesday night, the commissioners cited safety for mini-golf patrons and improved traffic flow on State Road for adding a condition that the business be accessed off High Point Lane.
“As trucks come in and out of both of those [accesses], they will slow traffic on State Road, more than if there’s just one access or point where trucks are coming in and out,” commissioner Christina Brown of Edgartown said. “The flow of traffic on State Road is a concern.”
Ms. Brown offered a motion: “I would propose a condition that the applicant obtain access to his project, and that the sole access to this project be from High Point Lane, and the applicant will develop access to it, engineer it, and present it to the MVC for final approval before receiving a building permit.”
Commissioner Joan Malkin of Chilmark said the condition was also necessary for safety purposes. “You spoke eloquently about the traffic implications, but the safety implications are, to me, crucial,” she said. “I am in favor of this motion because of the improved safety for the patrons of the mini-golf.”
MVC executive director Adam Turner said he thought engineering an access from High Point Lane was possible, but that it would require using a 30-foot easement at the back of the mini-golf property, currently owned by the Gosselins.
“We think, looking at it and talking to him, that it could be accomplished,” Mr. Turner said. “Miniature golf will have to agree, and he’ll have to agree … That does give him access that he needs, and it protects the miniature golf. It’s a win-win for both.”
The condition passed by majority vote. Ernest Thomas of West Tisbury opposed.
Long time coming
Mr. Dias, the owner of Specialty Builders’ Supply, a lumberyard in Brewster which now serves Cape Cod, eastern Massachusetts, and Martha’s Vineyard, said he initiated the project to meet the Island demand for his products. He said it would be a contractor-only yard, as opposed to other lumberyards in town, and would sell only to builders and businesses.
His proposal calls for a 60-by-112-foot warehouse and a smaller 60-by-28-foot showroom and office. The project underwent review by the MVC as a development of regional impact (DRI) because the building exceeds the 3,000-square-foot trigger on the DRI checklist.
The proposed building would be two stories tall facing High Point Lane, and three stories tall on the interior of the site, which includes a warehouse space with stacking open to the ceiling. The project would also include a showroom in the basement, an office on the ground floor, and two apartments on the second floor.
Earlier this year, the MVC approved a proposal by Joe DeBettencourt, owner of Buddy’s Auto and Truck Repair in Oak Bluffs, to build a 5,100-square-foot, four-bay automotive garage on a half-acre lot that would be accessed off High Point Lane uphill from the proposed lumberyard. Both buildings would be located on the same 1.2-acre parcel of land.
In total, the lumberyard project was under review by the MVC for one year and three months. Monday, Mr. Dias said he was feeling positive about Wednesday’s conclusion.
“I was happy with it,” he said. “It’s a long process, but I understand how it goes.”
Mr. Dias said engineering the alternative access road can be done.
“I’m working with the abutters, and our attorneys are working out a situation,” he said. “I think it’s good. I think it’s a solution that works out best for everybody.”
Next steps will include final reviews by the Tisbury planning board and the zoning board of appeals. Mr. Dias said he hopes to begin construction immediately following those procedures.
“We’re kind of in a hole, we’re way off the road, we’re covered by trees now, and we found another way in — I think it’s good,” he said. “I’m really looking forward to getting my business going.”
Mr. Dias was born on Martha’s Vineyard, and started working at his father’s lumberyard, Vineyard Builders Supply, at the age of 14. From 1989 to 2001, Mr. Dias managed a lumberyard on Cape Cod; then he started Specialty Builders’ Supply, where he sells engineered building materials for interior and exterior millwork, and has an onsite mill shop producing “architectural-quality woodwork.”
Details, details, details
After the access condition approval, the commissioners spent about one hour scrutinizing details of the proposed plan.
Another condition the MVC imposed gives Mr. Dias two years from the issuance of the initial building permit to have the combined structure built and weather-tight. He will not be able to receive a certificate of occupancy for the showroom unless he also has a certificate of occupancy for the two workforce housing units.
“The purpose from, I think, our point of view, is that one of the benefits of the total project is that it has workforce housing, so it’s important that we make sure it happens,” commissioner Fred Hancock of Oak Bluffs said.
Mr. Hancock also took issue with the shine of the roof. “This is a metal roof building, and I did notice on the bowling alley that we did not specify that it shouldn’t be a bright, shiny aluminum roof – which is really, really bright and shiny,” he said. “I would suggest a condition that says that this will be a painted metal roof.”
The MVC approved by majority vote that the roof “shall be nonreflective and nonglare.” Josh Goldstein of Tisbury opposed.
Ms. Brown did not like the idea of a brown building. “In the testimony, the applicant said that the walls would be painted brown … I would suggest that we say, as a condition, that the walls of the building would be painted a gray, similar to weathered cedar shingles,” she said.
“I would be more in favor of asking, in addition, that the State Road side of the building be shingled, because we will see a lot of that,” Mr. Hancock said.
“I wouldn’t second that,” Ms. Brown said. “I think that’s extreme.”
She made a motion for a condition stipulating that all sides of the building will be gray, similar to weathered cedar shingles, which passed by majority vote. Dukes County representative Leonard Jason, Katherine Newman of Aquinnah, Mr. Thomas, and Mr. Goldstein opposed.
A final condition voted unanimously asked that the applicant utilize landscaping for the purpose of shielding the building from High Point Lane and State Road.