Letters to the Editor
Success and failure
To the Editor:
Unfortunately, and too often, affordable housing arguments are presented in such a way that opposing views are seen as good people vs. people who, at the least, lack goodwill. This is like too many arguments around today that don't acknowledge other concerns or points of view.
For well over 40 years, the Dr. Fisher Road has been protected, and efforts to preserve it have been legislated and voted on numerous times by the Martha's Vineyard Commission as well as by the state of Massachusetts and the townspeople of West Tisbury. Designated a district of critical planning concern (DCPC) as well as an ancient and scenic way, the town of West Tisbury needed to further define and articulate steps to preserve not only its beauty but its safety for schoolchildren walking to school, as well as for horseback riders, cyclists, and walkers.
We all failed to do this. The neighbors who have worked so hard for more than 40 years to preserve and keep safe this treasure thought they were protected by the state and our town. In the meantime, most of the homeowners in the neighborhood have also been good stewards of this historic area by renting to year-round, working Islanders rather than the more lucrative seasonal visitors.
Now there will be three houses with 12 bedrooms on one acre each and more traffic than we've seen in 40 years. It is understood from the West Tisbury planning board that more subdivisions and houses will follow. We, of course, are glad that perhaps two families will have affordable housing, but what is being set in motion is the reality that, in the near future, it will not be possible to safely navigate the Dr. Fisher Road any more.
Because we have all failed to preserve what we valued, the historic and environmental designations made over the last 40 years have become meaningless, and what we have all worked to preserve will be no more. It is unfortunate that "success" in the developer's discussion means no acknowledgement of the effects of increased traffic and density related to safety and the unique and rural environment we have all worked so hard and so long to preserve for all the residents of West Tisbury and Martha's Vineyard.