Martha's Vineyard Commission declines review of Thai restaurant plan
The Martha's Vineyard Commission (MVC) declined to review a proposal for a new Thai restaurant at 18 State Road in Tisbury as a development of regional impact (DRI).
The 56-seat restaurant proposed by applicant Pissamai Laothong Green will be located in the building that has housed the Pisano-Belushi Gallery. An outside terrace will offer 16 additional seats in the summer. The kitchen will be on the basement level, with a take-out operation in the back of the building.
In 2007, building owner Sylvestro Schiavone received approval with conditions from the Martha's Vineyard Commission to build a new second structure at the rear of the property, which is located near an archeological site that dates back to approximately 8,000 B.C.
Tisbury building and zoning inspector Ken Barwick referred the project, which has received approval from the town's wastewater commission for additional flow and preliminary approval from the board of health, to the Martha's Vineyard Commission.
In a videotape of the meeting aired on MVTV, the commissioners agreed that traffic is the most pressing issue. Michael Mauro gave his first presentation as the Martha's Vineyard Commission's new transportation planner. Mr. Mauro, who has a degree in geography with a concentration in urban and regional planning, said that, based on studies, the restaurant's 11 to 12 parking spaces will be adequate, since many patrons will walk to it. Mr. Mauro also said he thought the restaurant would have minimal impact on traffic volume on State Road.
Recently elected Tisbury commissioner Holly Stephenson dismissed Mr. Mauro's opinion, and asked whether the Tisbury zoning board of appeals (ZBA), which will also review the project, has anyone with the expertise to do traffic studies.
After Ms. Stephenson went on at length about traffic and parking, Martha's Vineyard Commission chairman Christina Brown asked her to refrain from going into a lot of details, which will be dealt with by the ZBA.
"I agree with what Holly said," Chilmark commissioner Douglas Sederholm said. "It's quite obvious the traffic issue has the potential for regional impact." He made a motion for the project to undergo a full public hearing.
Tisbury commissioner Peter Cabana pointed out that Tisbury does not have a parking requirement for restaurants.
Bill Bennett, a newly appointed Chilmark commissioner who has been before the Martha's Vineyard Commission as an applicant, cut the debate short.
"So Peter mentioned before the town doesn't have any requirements for any parking for the restaurant, and Holly's main concern is micromanaging the traffic in the backyard of the restaurant," Mr. Bennett summed up. "Our own traffic expert has told us there will be minimal impact on the traffic flow on the main road, which is the only part that has any regional impact - and I think the town is fully capable of deciding how this thing should work out."