The mopeds and the Yellow House

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To the Editor:

If only we could make the Island’s issues quickly resolve. We have nothing on windmill jousting. The mopeds are tough; they have a right to operate as a business, and yet we all realize they are dangerous. Cries of “Let’s make them illegal” are thrown out; “Let’s put them out of business.” Is this the American way? There is a way this can be done with equity on each side. Usually eminent domain is for real estate condemnation for a public purpose. It has been used to buy out businesses. The owners of the moped businesses want only a fair deal. Why hasn’t the idea of buying out the current owners been put forth? I know one of the owners would be on board with this idea. He cannot afford to just stop operating if the town refuses his license. This could be a win-win for the town, the Island, and people destined to be moped statistics.

As to the Yellow House, the town should not be in the business of running a business. The fiasco of the library buying the Warren House should be reason enough. Real estate developers are in abundance on the Vineyard, people who know how and what to do to make a property a success, and of course only risk their own or investors’ money. If the Halls do not agree to sell, the town could use the eminent domain process to gain title and then auction it off to the highest bidder. This eminent domain process has been used before to make a property available for new development, and not necessarily be used by the town. Once the Halls come to terms with the idea that they will not be in control of the property, they might be persuaded to hold their own auction, saving the town from legal suits and a drawn-out process. Real estate, and particularly well-run commercial real estate, needs a dictator type at the helm — there are too many decisions to be made for it to be well-run by a committee. Ask the Conovers or Gino Courtney.

Leo Convery Sr.
Edgartown