Lagoon Ridge decision delayed one week

Ewell Hopkins, left (fur hat), and Davio Danielson (red hat), unfurl a set of plans for visitors at the Lagoon Ridge subdivision site to examine. The subdivision was talked about Thursday by the board, but they held off making a decision until next Thursday. — Gabrielle Mannino

At the conclusion of Thursday night’s public hearing, the Oak Bluffs planning board decided not to decide on Lagoon Ridge, a proposed 23-lot subdivision off Barnes Road, until its next meeting on Thursday, Feb. 15. The decision will be the culmination of five years of meetings and public hearings with the Oak Bluffs planning board about Lagoon Ridge, which is the first subdivision proposed under the flexible zoning bylaw.

The yield plan for Lagoon Ridge, which determines how many units could be built under standard zoning, was accepted by the Oak Bluffs planning board on Jan. 25.

Public comment was evenly divided at the well-attended hearing, which lasted nearly three hours.

Nitrogen loading in the Lagoon was the primary concern of the people who spoke against the project.

Ambiguity over what qualifies as “open space” was also much discussed.

The project would be the first in Oak Bluffs to utilize the town’s flexible-development zoning bylaw, which allows for cluster development in exchange for the preservation of natural resources and the town’s “traditional New England landscape.”

The Martha’s Vineyard Commission approved the project in 2016, with significant conditions on wastewater treatment, including stringent measurement and a bond that would ensure emergency repairs to the water treatment system.

Subdivision plans call for an Amphidrome system — essentially a self-contained sewage plant, which has never been used on Martha’s Vineyard.

The Oak Bluffs board of health has reviewed and approved the system for Lagoon Ridge.  Member Tom Zinno recommended that the board consider conditioning lower nitrogen limits, which the system has proven it can reach.

The same system is in operation at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and at many locations on the Cape, where water quality is also a hot-button issue.

Eric Peters, attorney for developer Davio Danielson, asked that the board delay final deliberation after an opinion on open space criteria from town counsel was introduced by chairman Ewell Hopkins after the public hearing had closed.


  1. What a shame the Land Bank declined to purchase this property when they were given the opportunity several years ago. It could have been forever wild with zero Nitrogen contribution to the ponds and almost zero impact on the land and its neighbors.

  2. For years we tried to reach an arrangement with The Land Bank, but they, and other conservation organizations, see this as a “fill-in development”. Their higher priority has been protecting coastal areas, unique ecosystems, and beach and recreational access.

    Lagoon Ridge, which I manage, will be providing needed homes for elders and families close to schools, the hospital, and the traffic circle. It’s a balancing act, and over half the acreage — almost 20 of the 32 acres– will be open space, game corridors and moth habitat.

    If approved by 4 of the 5 members of the Planning Board, we’ll see needed homes get built, save trails for recreation, and do the best anyone has done so far on the Island to reduce nitrogen and move it away from our coastal ponds. Questions and comments welcomed.
    Davio Danielson 413-320-2395

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