Replacing bank roof isn’t a good option


To the Editor:

Do four wrongs make a right? Apparently, that is now to be tested. When Santander Bank officials began the process of repairing the roof of its historic building in Tisbury by replacing the clay roof tiles with asphalt shingles, they should have known that this would not be a simple project. Due diligence would have indicated that they find out exactly what the process is for repairs to or renovation of a historic building. If we are to trust their wisdom with our finances, shouldn’t we expect that they exercise wisdom in managing their financial investments? But wait, there’s more. Apparently, the town building inspector signed off improperly on the project to replace the roof, failing to refer it to the Martha’s Vineyard Commission. Then, with hurricane season upon us, the town selectmen apparently committed their own error by giving the go-ahead for the work to be done.

That’s three wrongs. Now for the fourth. The Martha’s Vineyard Commission has decided that we should start this whole process over again, and that last wrong will make it all right.

I wholeheartedly disagree. It is wonderful to ponder this first-world problem of whether the aesthetics of this project are pleasing, and who bears most responsibility for the current situation. I suspect the bank’s parent company could well afford to put this right and return the bank’s roof to its original appearance. However, at this point, I do not feel that this is the issue.

It is my impression that most Island residents pride themselves on their demonstrated respect for the environment. Whenever we can, we choose renewable sources of energy, we reduce, we reuse ,and we recycle. So with that in mind, how can we tolerate the MVC decision? The clay roof should never have been replaced with asphalt shingles, but that has been done. Now we are facing a “solution” that suggests that tons of shingling in perfect condition be removed and recycled into what — road material? How is that not obscene?

Why not choose an alternate path? Why not assess the bank for its failure to manage the historic property properly, and use that significant fine to further something else? While we argue about the aesthetics, there are people on this Island who need housing, who struggle to pay their heating bills and provide nourishment for themselves and their families. The only way I see these four “wrongs” delivering a right is to have something positive come out of this — not to have dumpsters filled with new building material.


Deborah Wells
West Tisbury



  1. Great comment, Deb
    Totally ridiculous to ‘fix” it.
    I had no idea tisbury was even considering such an obviously misguided ( i am trying to use kind words) “solution” to the affront to the ego’s of the town “leaders”

  2. Couldn’t agree more. All this is is a power play and ego buffing by the outdated and overreacting MVC. I like the idea of a big fine. Maybe the cost difference between asphalt and clay shingles plus 15 or 20 percent. And put it in the judgement that in 20 or 25 years, whoever owns the building at that point, has to reinstall the clay roof tiles. As Deborah mentioned, it seems really useless to rip off a one year old roof

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