MVC's land use committee weighs possible conditions on church plan
At a meeting Monday night, the Martha's Vineyard Commission's (MVC) land use planning committee (LUPC) concluded a post-hearing review and discussed a list of offers made by the World Revival Church with Darran Reubens, the church's architect and project manager, and Joao Barbosa, a church member who will be helping with construction.
The church's offers included limitations on the hours and numbers of services, kitchen equipment, wastewater treatment, landscaping, traffic and transportation, and exterior lighting.
After discussing the offers in detail, the LUPC voted to recommend the project 's approval with conditions at the full commission meeting on Feb. 9.
In addressing the commissioners' concerns about traffic impact on Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road, church leaders offered not to hold services during peak traffic hours, from 7 to 10 am and 4 to 6 pm. The church also offered to limit its services to three each week and no more than one special activity each month.
Commenting that this offer "seems restrictive beyond reason," Chris Murphy, Chilmark MVC commissioner, wanted to make sure church officials realized it would require the approval of the MVC if they decided to add services in the future.
Although the number of services and hours of daycare were linked to wastewater limits, the LUPC advised that there might be some flexibility within those limits for the addition of another service or extra daycare hours. Bill Wilcox, MVC water resource planner, agreed to further analyze the numbers.
The LUPC will recommend a condition requiring quarterly inspections of the denitrifying wastewater system until four consecutive tests meet the required nitrogen limits, and annually thereafter.
One of the building modifications required by the Oak Bluffs Board of Health is that the community room kitchen must meet commercial standards. The church agreed it will not install a Friolator and will not use the kitchen to produce commercial food products.
One of the conditions the LUPC decided to recommend was twice-yearly pump-outs and quarterly inspections of the grease trap for the first year, and then annually if the pump-outs prove adequate. After debating about the frequency of inspections, the commissioners agreed to check on whether the Oak Bluffs board of health is the regulating authority.
The church also included a new landscaping plan in its offers to the LUPC, including a hedge made up of white cedar and red pine to replace a fence along the property line.
After Megan Ottens-Sargent, Aquinnah MVC commissioner, and Linda Sibley, MVC chairman, questioned whether red pines were a good choice and debated about what kinds of trees and bushes they personally preferred, they agreed to review the plan and make further recommendations before its final approval.
Mark London, executive director of the MVC, said that since no local boards oversee landscaping plans, the LUPC's lengthy debate was justified. "We're just trying to help them achieve the goal that both they and the commission want to achieve. We have sort of an informal landscaping committee that has reviewed landscaping," he said.
"The World Revival Church is a large building right on a major road, and the landscaping in front of that building will be one of the aspects that will have the biggest impact on Vineyarders."
Other issues raised by abutting neighbors during the public hearing process concerned lighting and noise. Ms. Sibley asked why the church had not specified that the light will be turned off when the building is unoccupied and thought there should be some restriction on the number of lights around the building. Although church leaders said they did not intend to install security lighting, the LUPC advised them to include wording in their offers that would allow its addition at a later date.
Ms. Ottens-Sargent wanted the church to add an offer to install energy-efficient lighting and appliances, but Christina Brown, LUPC chairman, told her it was too late. Ms. Brown suggested the LUPC would make it a recommendation instead.
The church also offered to install air-conditioning to lessen noise that would come from open windows. As a condition, the LUPC stipulated no outside mechanical amplification. Mr. Barbosa promised the church members would come and go quietly. "No laughing, no talking," Ms. Brown told him, then smiled and assured him she was kidding.