Edgartown Library is ready to go ahead
The Edgartown Library expansion plan is back on track following a public meeting of the zoning board of appeals last week. The meeting, which brought out more than 100 library backers, turned out to be a formality that lasted about 15 minutes.
The ZBA did not need to take any votes because the new plan met all the zoning requirements and didn't need a special permit. The board did review the parking plan since the R-5 zoning district has no parking requirements, and then endorsed the plan as presented.
The board also held the meeting as a courtesy to allow the public to make any final comments on the plan, library board chairman Diane Bongiorno said after the brief meeting. No one opposed the latest project.
The library is now ready to go ahead with the long-delayed project. The ZBA had rejected the expansion plan two years ago because of size and parking concerns. A special joint committee reduced the plan by 4,000 square feet and doubled the parking lot capacity from the previous plan, Ms. Bongiorno said.
The new building plan makes maximum use of the property envelope, allowing for an entrance drive at left, an exit drive at right, and 22 parking spaces behind the library.
"Now we're going to raise $5 million," library director Felicia Cheney said cheerfully following the hearing. "Now we've gotten the OK on the parking from the ZBA we can continue to get the grant from the state."
The library is No. 18 in a line of about 25 libraries seeking $82 million in bonding money from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC), she said. The library is scheduled to receive the lesser of $3.9 million or 25 percent of construction costs, whichever amount is less. Ms. Cheney said there is a possibility that all the money will be approved at once in the near future.
The library trustees have pledged to raise the rest of the money privately, and not seek town funds. Ms. Cheney said the trustees have made it clear that they won't start the project until they have the cash in hand. They will meet with the town finance committee June 20 to discuss the money issues.
This view gives a bit of neighborhood context. The street in the foreground is the lane to the Chappy ferry landing.
Another next step will be to present the architectural plans to the Massachusetts Historical Commission. A contract was signed with Schwartz/Silver architects of Boston in 2004, which has designed numerous public and university libraries. Ms. Cheney said she doesn't anticipate any problems with the commission.
"We're really excited. Now we can do it," she added. She also said the library trustees want to make the new library a green building.
The revised project calls for the Captain Warren house next to the library to be demolished to allow for a U-shaped driveway that will lead to the new parking area with 22 spaces. A new building, using the same design as the original proposed structure, will be constructed. Parking was increased from 10 off-street parking spaces to 22 spaces by moving the library addition closer to North Water Street.
The new plan decreases the square footage of the library expansion by 14.7 percent, from 25,200 to 21,500 square feet. In addition, the library area below grade level was increased to make the addition blend into the surrounding neighborhood and appear less imposing.
Ms. Bongiorno said it will take a year or two to get the design completed and raise the remaining funds.