MVC up in the air over Aquinnah DCPC
As the crow flies, there is now some rarefied air over Aquinnah. The Martha's Vineyard Commission (MVC) agreed to accept for consideration the proposed nomination as a district of critical planning concern the air space over all lands and waters within Aquinnah, except the Indian Common lands and settlement lands. The DCPC would apply specifically to the portion of air space exceeding 32 feet in height above mean natural grade and/or mean sea level.
Also on Nov. 1, the MVC approved modifications to conditions for Morgan Woods and agreed to review the Moujabber garage in Oak Bluffs as a development of regional impact (DRI).
In an Oct. 31 letter to the MVC members, the Aquinnah selectmen wrote, "This DCPC could encompass optimum placement of wind turbines, solar panels, and geo-thermal systems, as well as revolutionary construction design."
Aquinnah selectman Camille Rose told the MVC meeting, "We don't have any regulations to help us manage wind towers."
The MVC's acceptance of the DCPC nomination for consideration triggers a limited development moratorium only on projects that exceed 32 feet in height. Ms. Rose said that since Aquinnah already has a limit on building height and it is unlikely anything outside of a wind turbine tower would exceed 32 feet, the selectmen intended that the air rights moratorium would not stop all building projects.
The MVC has 60 days to hold a public hearing and then vote again on whether to approve the DCPC designation, including goals and guidelines to the town as a basis for regulations. Dec. 6 is the tentative date for a public hearing, followed by a vote on Dec. 20.
In other business, attorneys Peter Freeman and Stephanie Kiefer of Freeman Davis & Stearns and Dick Barbini from the Pennywise Path Affordable Housing Project in Edgartown, now known as Morgan Woods, asked the commissioners to modify conditions on the project included in the MVC development of regional impact (DRI) decision on Aug. 5, 2004.
In order to convert construction financing to permanent financing, attorney Freeman explained, the developer of the project, The Community Builders (TCB), must confirm that all of the conditions of the permitting process have been met. However, due to some difficulties in siting and grading during construction, TCB made four changes that had to do with setback requirements from Pennywise Path, the reconfiguration of some buildings to meet handicapped-access regulations, relocating a building, and removing trees in common areas because of grading issues.
At a land use planning committee meeting on Oct. 29, Edgartown Affordable Housing Committee member Alan Gowell said that the town would like to wait and see what usage patterns develop in the community before replacing the trees. There also is no money left over to spend on landscaping, he said.
Several of the commissioners expressed their displeasure over the violations of the MVC's conditions, including Edgartown commissioner Jim Athearn. "In the future, we need to make conditions that have some teeth in them - maybe have the applicant post a bond," he said.
The commissioners did agree that the changes, although not minor, were not substantial enough to warrant a public hearing. They voted to accept the changes with the requirement that a landscape and usage plan be submitted to the LUPC by Dec. 31, 2008.
The commissioners also agreed to accept a discretionary referral to review a three-story garage project by Joseph Moujabber at 10 Sea View Avenue Extension in Oak Bluffs as a development of regional impact (DRI). The commissioners based their acceptance of the referral on the garage's impact on public and private views of the water.
The LUPC will begin discussing the project on Nov. 19 at 7:30 pm and invites town boards to attend.