West William Street building approved for demolition, will go to MVC

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Dan Seidman, treasurer of the Island Housing Trust, went before the Tisbury board of selectmen on Tuesday. —Stacey Rupolo

Tisbury selectmen approved the demolition of the long-vacant building at 55 West William Street, with the understanding that it’s being referred to the Martha’s Vineyard Commission.

Dan Seidman, chairman of the Tisbury planning board and treasurer of Island Housing Trust (IHT), told selectmen IHT was in negotiations for the building, hoping to turn the one-acre site into multiple affordable housing units. Mr. Seidman was seeking the board’s approval to demolish the building because it was beyond the scope of restoration, he said.

Harold Chapdelaine, chairman of the William Street Historic District commission, said the commission suggested approval for demolition, but under certain conditions that are predicated on leaving the character of the neighborhood unchanged.

Ken Barwick, Tisbury building and zoning inspector, disagreed with the suggestions to demolish the building, which was built around 1880. He said he would refer it to the Martha’s Vineyard Commission. “As these buildings start coming down, we’re going to be losing the historic character of Tisbury,” he said.

“There’s old and there’s historic, and they’re not necessarily the same,” Mr. Seidman said.