Motorists who frequently travel on Lagoon Pond Road between Five Corners and Skiff Avenue may want to consider an alternative route over the next four and a half weeks. The Tisbury Water Works (TWW) plans to begin a project this week to replace the existing water main along that section of road, according to a press release. Construction will continue through Oct. 10.
TWW contracted with C.C. Construction for the project. The work includes excavation in the roadway and installation of a new water main and hydrants. Homes and businesses along the section of Lagoon Pond Road under construction will be connected to the new water main and disconnected from the old main. TWW will notify residents in advance of any planned disruptions of water service. For more information, contact TWW at 508-693-3100.
This Saturday from 12 noon to 4 pm you’ll want to be at the Peach Festival at the Congregational Church in West Tisbury. Enjoy peach treats on the lawn and enter a raffle to win your own peach tree. On offer will be fresh peaches, peach smoothies or shortcake, blueberry peach cobbler, and peach pies. All proceeds support the church. If it rains, the event will be held indoors.
On Sunday, the Vineyard Haven Band Concert is in Owen Park. Music begins at 8 pm so you can enjoy the harbor view with beautiful music.
Tuesday morning, little ones have storytime with Kathy Forrester at the Vineyard Haven Library. This is the last summer storytime with Kathy. On Wednesday afternoon at 4 pm, kids age eight and up are invited to try lantern painting for illumination night. They will paint and take home a lantern. Thursday at 4 pm kids five and up can build with Legos or play a game at the library.
Tuesday evening you can meet Marsha Winsryg and learn about the African Artists Community Project which helps the Mama Bakhita Center for disabled children in Zambia. This will be an overview of the project, accompanied by Rick Bausman, Jane Norton, and Cynthia Bloomquist, all at 7 pm.
Our library continues to offer the most wonderful treats. You can take the upcoming free seminar, “Tolstoy’s Modern Epic: War and Peace,” led by Philip Weinstein of Aquinnah and Swarthmore College.There is an advance reading assignment. Beginning in September, the six-part workshop on Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace will meet on Wednesday evenings at 7 pm at the Cornell Theatre. Class dates are September 17, October 1, 15, 29; November 12 and December 3. Reading 200 pages per session (every two weeks, for three months) will take the time necessary to do justice to Tolstoy’s masterpiece.
You must register in advance, online or at the library. To prepare for the first class, read Volume One, Parts One and Two. Professor Weinstein will be using the Pevear/Volokhonsky translation of the book. A limited number of copies are on reserve at the library.
ACE MV will offer 36 classes this fall. Did you know local sponsors include McIntosh Motors (Auto Maintenance for Women) and the Chilmark Writing Workshop (Writing from the Heart)? There are classes for credits from Fitchburg State University. You can register online now at acemv.org, or by mail or at the high school. Check out the Course Sampling Fair on October 1 at the high school from 5 to 6:30 pm. More at acemv.org or call Lynn at 774-310-1131. You can find the catalog in any library.
Next week is the Fair: our fair is the Island party. I hope you will let me know if you see something we should mention in the news. My favorites are the kids’ entries and of course the quilts. Kids put together scenes of wonderful vegetables, artworks, and imaginative creations. Even little kids complete entries that will astonish you. Be sure to see the efforts of the next generation: I guarantee you will be impressed.
The quilts are supposed to be applique or patchwork made by one person and quilted by that same person as well. You have to be impressed with all that needlework done by one person. A quilt top created by one person and quilted by another is a group quilt. That is still an awful lot of work. Years ago all of this was done by hand. Many modern quilts are sewn by machine and are often quilted by machine. The talent to put all this together is remarkable.
Mary Goethals of our town and Tucson, Arizona, joined her older brother, George Goethals of Richmond, Virginia, and Pine Island, New York, on a trip to Panama for the 100th anniversary of the Panama Canal. Their paternal great grandfather was General George Washington Goethals, who also summered in Vineyard Haven. He was the head engineer and first governor of the canal. Mary and George are the children of the late Barbara B. Nevin of Edgartown.
Are you dying to gamble? Try Foxwoods with Friends of the Oak Bluffs COA on Tuesday, August 26. Bus cost is $30, round trip from Woods Hole. You buy your SSA ticket and take spending money. You leave on the SSA at 7 am and come home on the 6:15 from Woods Hole. Sign up now with Rose at 508-693-4509, ext 3.
Congratulations go out today to Skip and Carol Bailey who mark 20 happy years together.
Big bunches of birthday balloon wishes go out tomorrow to Ray Frazio and Braden Kuehne. Leslie Stark parties on Monday as do Larry Levine and Kathy Welch. Jeff Damon Pratt and Alistair Rizza celebrate on Wednesday.
What a wonderful week. Our darling granddaughters Rory and Fiona are back at Camp Nana, which this week includes adventures with Kids Discovery Days at the Martha’s Vineyard Museum.
Ages 5 and up learn all about bugs today at 4 pm at the Vineyard Haven Library. Marvelous Marvin teaches bug habits and the importance of bugs to humans with circus arts, magic, and music. Next Thursday at 4 pm, Mister Rocketman will show us how to make amazing rockets.The kids launch their creations, and it’s anyone’s guess as to where they will land.
You are familiar with Moth and NPR. Saturday evening at the Tabernacle hear islanders sharing brief true stories told live. Time is 7:30; cost is $40.
Tom Dresser, Herb Foster, and Jay Schofield will be in the Community Room at Hillside Village at 2 pm Sunday, after the NAACP meeting. Their book, “Martha’s Vineyard in World War II,” is already in a second printing. They talked with Vineyarders who were here during the war, including my husband and his cousin Buddy Mayhew, and researched files of the Gazette and the Museum. Views of life on the home front of Martha’s Vineyard during the war range from plane spotters at town hall to workers at the Martha’s Vineyard Shipyard. The talk is free, the book is $20.
On Tuesday adults can hear Susan Klein speak on Folklore & Mythology From A Woman’s Perspective. That’s at 8 pm at Featherstone.
Students from fifth grade through high school were chosen by their music teachers as the most talented and hardworking young singers and instrumentalists on the Island. They will perform at 7:30 pm on Tuesday at the West Tisbury Grange Hall to benefit the new West Tisbury Library. Tickets are $15 and half price for age 12 and under, available in advance at Tisberry Fro Yo off Main Street.
I should remind you that shopping online harms our local businesses. But I am a realist; I know you sometimes order stuff from Amazon anyway. Next time you do that, use this address because 1% of the sale can go to charity: http://smile.amazon.com.
Next Wednesday, author Josh Ruxin will speak about his new book “A Thousand Hills to Heaven: Love, Hope, and a Restaurant in Rwanda” at 7 pm at the Vineyard Haven Library.
This is the story of a Columbia University professor picking up and moving to deepest Rwanda, where he helped revitalize a village and fell in love with a little restaurant called Heaven. Hear about living in Rwanda, building a village, then constructing a restaurant, and, during it all, beginning his own family.
How can anyone think bicycles don’t have the same rights as cars on our roads? The moped riders have these rights, too. Owning a vehicle does not give you the right to be the only one on the road. If you find these people slow you down, you should have left home earlier. Your being late is not their fault.
Peter Pan! Live! A week from tomorrow, August 15, the Island Theater Workshop presents a benefit performance of Peter Pan at 7:30 pm at the MVRHS Performing Arts Center. The performance is directed by Kevin Ryan to benefit the MV Center for Living and support services for Island seniors. $25 for adults and $12 for children. More at 508-939-9440.
You will want to know about two special events at the Federated Church in Edgartown next week. On Sunday morning from 8:30 to 10:30 is the annual blueberry breakfast. Then on Tuesday afternoon five lovely homes on School Street and South Water Street in Edgartown will be open for you as a benefit for the church. Historian Mary Jane Carpenter will speak at 1 pm before the afternoon tour begins. Tea and refreshments are offered at the Mayhew Parsonage. Tickets are $35 at the Meetinghouse on the afternoon of the tour. More: Anne Vose at 508-627-7077.
Big bunches of birthday balloon wishes go out to John Edmond Coogan today. Wish the best tomorrow to Bobbie Donavan. Happy birthday to Goodie Stiller Corriveau who parties next Wednesday. Belated greetings go out to Sharon Coogan.
Heard on Main Street: It’s never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.
State plans to reconstruct a portion of Beach Road in Vineyard Haven bypass zoning obstacles, critics say.
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (DOT) is planning a complete overhaul of a congested section of an important Martha’s Vineyard transportation artery over the next several years. MassDOT plans to add sidewalks and bike lanes to a section of Beach Road in Vineyard Haven, from the Wind’s Up watersports shop to Five Corners.
While any improvement is welcome, local officials and several property owners said that without significant changes in existing town zoning regulations, the town could be left with a brand-new roadway, but the same limited access to the waterfront, dilapidated structures and vacant lots, for years to come. One question raised is whether zoning bylaws now prevent the type of waterfront development they were intended to encourage.
The $1 million MassDOT road project is in a preliminary design phase. It is expected to receive federal funding in 2017.
Local town and Island officials are working with MassDOT on a plan to transform what is now a jumbled collection of sidewalks, shoulders, utility infrastructure, and a bike path that ends abruptly, into a smooth passageway for motorists, bicyclists and walkers.
The project faces legal and design obstacles, mostly triggered by the narrow roadway.
The width of the state’s right of way is only 40 feet at its narrowest point, where the roadway is flanked by the Packer Company’s concrete retaining wall on one side, and the Martha’s Vineyard Shipyard buildings on the other side. Squeezing utilities, sidewalks, bike lanes, and vehicle travel lanes into that space will require variances from required state roadway standards. Alternatively, MassDOT could negotiate with dozens of landowners for easements in order to acquire enough space to meet the design standards.
Tisbury town meeting voters have authorized the town to pursue land rights for the project.
The stretch of Beach Road under consideration includes a mix of retail and construction businesses, along with office space. These include Hinckley lumber and Ace Hardware, West Marine, Tisbury Marketplace, Granite City Electric Supply and Vineyard Scripts pharmacy.
There are three major marine facilities: Gannon and Benjamin boatyard, Martha’s Vineyard Shipyard and the R.M. Packer Company, Inc. Owner Ralph Packer owns the Shell gas station, in addition to marine shipping operations and fuel storage on large shoreline parcels on both sides of Beach Road.
At annual town meeting in 1996, Tisbury voters approved new zoning bylaws that created a Waterfront and Commercial District. The boundaries of the two districts are complicated, but in general the waterfront district encompasses the land 100 feet back from Vineyard Haven Harbor, and 100 feet back from Lagoon Pond. The thin zoning district stretches from the Steamship Authority terminal to the drawbridge, and back to Maciel Marine on Lagoon Pond.
The new bylaws stipulated that any development within the district must be marine or harbor related. The bylaw specifically mentions aquaculture facilities, commercial fishing and fish processing, boatyards, facilities for tugboats and other vessels involved in port operations, and marine terminals. It also allows a wildlife refuge or park that promotes public enjoyment of the harbor.
Though the waterfront zoning was intended to encourage marine uses, it was also meant to preserve the working waterfront. There was fear at the time of the zoning changes, that developers would buy out marine businesses, and use the land for other kinds of development.
“The purpose of the zoning was largely to protect the existing business that were on the shore, and prevent them from being driven out,” Henry Stephenson, co-chairman of the Tisbury planning board, told The Times.
In nearly two decades since the zoning changes took effect, not a single marine based development of any kind has been built, and some point directly to the waterfront zoning district as the reason.
“It doesn’t achieve the goal of having better access to the water,” Mr. Stephenson said. He advocates a big picture approach. “You need a much broader look at the land uses along the shore to see how those pieces fit together,” Mr. Stephenson said. “When you get to Five Corners, what do you do? If you’re building Beach Road straight down to Five Corners, you should be looking at a link to the ferry while you’re at it. There is an overlay of issues that have to be addressed.”
Planning board co-chairman Daniel Seidman says he is frustrated with the zoning regulations that govern development on Beach Road.
“In the past, things have been done piecemeal,” Mr. Seidman said. “It’s been more reactive than proactive. It’s nice to say there is a road and there are bike paths, but if it doesn’t help the town in general, we’re just doing piecemeal work.”
The planning board is about to embark on a “visioning” process. The process will take the form of facilitated public workshops, hearings, and efforts to raise awareness about planning issues.
Mr. Seidman said that unless the public is engaged from the start, it will be difficult to determine what people want Tisbury to look like, and how to plan a path to get there. He cited Beach Road as an example.
“There’s no town buy-in for what you see there,” Mr. Seidman said. “That’s why nothing has been done. If there’s no town buy-in to the solution, it will simply accumulate dust.”
It appears that is exactly what happened to the last plan the town created, in January 2006.
A 21-page document titled “Downtown and the Waterfront Planning Alternatives,” listed eight specific proposals to “reinforce the town center, open up access to the harbor, relieve traffic congestion, improve the economy and restore a more comfortable village atmosphere.”
The proposals include creating a harborwalk, reorganizing vehicle access in and out of the Steamship Authority terminal, and establishing a pedestrian system linking downtown to the waterfront.
The only recommendations implemented, however, were to move the fire station out of downtown, and reconfigure the town-owned parking lot between Stop & Shop and the police station, a plan that has been the target of much criticism.
A lot in play
Ernie Boch Jr., a seasonal resident of Edgartown and owner of a group of successful auto dealerships, is starting with a blank slate. Owner of an undeveloped lot on Beach Road near Five Corners, he said the waterfront zoning regulations are the reason the prime waterfront property has sat vacant for more than a decade.
“Boch Park,” as it was known, was the subject of a protracted legal battle between the town of Tisbury and Mr. Boch’s father, who purchased the property in 1987, when he created a valet parking lot on the property.
A long derelict shop, known as the Entwistle building, sits on one corner of the lot. It is condemned and due to be demolished. A large part of the property lies in the commercial district, and could be developed into retail, office space, or housing. But some of the lot lies in the waterfront district and is restricted to marine use under current zoning.
“I would love to develop it into something nice and cool and useful,” Mr. Boch said in a phone interview with The Times on Tuesday. “It’s a beautiful little harbor. The idea that you have to use it for marine use limits what you can do. It needs something to bring it into the 21st century. What are you going to do, add another dock?”
Mr. Boch, who has earned a reputation as a generous philanthropist, said the restrictive zoning puts the town at risk for a lawsuit, though he stressed he has no intention of taking any legal action. “It’s going to happen, it will happen,” he said. “Somebody will sue them and wind up building something that nobody likes. If they continue with these policies, that’s what is going to happen. I would never do that, but somebody will.”
He called on the town to take the lead in drawing interest from developers on his property, and others along Beach Road.
“If they truly want to develop that, they should ask for plans, they should be proactive, they should go on offense, not defense,” Mr. Boch said.
Sam Dunn, an architect and builder who developed Tisbury Marketplace, is alarmed at the lack of overall planning for Beach Road. He says the zoning ordinance that limits development to marine use is a well intentioned 20 year test that failed.
“You can declare the harbor is going to be a working harbor, you can’t just will it to happen,” Mr. Dunn said. “It has to be changed. That doesn’t mean you have to abandon the idea of boatyards. I think there should be some zoning that mixes in some other uses that would be compatible.”
The MassDOT process of negotiating land rights with dozens of property owners seems daunting to Mr. Dunn and others involved in the project. “You’ve got to have a very thick skin, a lot of time, and a lot of money,” Mr. Dunn said.
He said there are alternatives, that include extending sidewalks only from Five Corners to the Shell gas station, which would avoid the bottleneck to the east. He said the project should include a plan to bury utility lines in an underground conduit.
“Just throw the money at putting the power lines underground, instead of this incredibly cumbersome plan to get property from many different property owners,” Mr. Dunn said.
Ralph Packer, who owns several parcels along Beach Road, also advocates putting utilities underground. “If the electrical collar is put underground, we would do whatever is necessary to facilitate an easement,” he said. He said that he had submitted the offer in writing to Tisbury selectmen and the town’s department of public works.
Mr. Packer was among the group of planners and property owners who worked on the zoning ordinance two decades ago.
“We’re not interested in seeing motels and hotels along the beach,” he said. “We’re probably one of the last working harbors. Nantucket is completely a recreational harbor. The south side of the Cape is all recreational. Not everybody is happy, but I think we all try to live within what it was created for. Once in a while you might like to do something different, but I do not think the waterside district is a hindrance.”
On a warm sunny Sunday, when many people were enjoying a day off, Tisbury and Oak Bluffs firefighters responded to an afternoon blaze in a garage workshop behind the home of Albion Alley, III on Hvoslef Way, off Lake Street, overlooking Lake Tashmoo.
Assistant Tisbury fire chief Jim Rogers directed the effort to fight the fire that broke out at about 2 pm. Firefighters, assisted by a light southwest breeze, managed to contain the fire in a relatively small area of the congested neighborhood and keep the flames from spreading to the adjacent Tashmoo Boatyard, nearby propane tanks, and several small houses.
Mr. Alley’s garage workshop, its contents which included his work tools, his truck and a car, about 50 lobster traps, a satellite dish and a nearby shed owned by a neighbor were destroyed. There were no injuries.
Mr. Rogers praised the quick response of Tisbury firefighters, Tisbury EMS and members of the Oak Bluffs fire department, who provided mutual aid, in the middle of the afternoon. Tisbury EMS set up a recovery tent where firefighters could cool down. “It was a hot day, particularly in turnout gear, and they made sure no one got overheated,” Mr. Rogers said.
The cause of the fire has not been determined.
David Stanwood of West Tisbury witnessed the fire. “My wife, Eleanor, was rowing on Lake Tashmoo and I was in our sailboat,” he said in an email to The Times. “It was just before 2 pm on Sunday. She started shouting at me and pointing towards the opposite side of the harbor by Tashmoo Boatyard. I turned and saw black smoke starting to billow up from behind Albion Alley’s house on the lake front. I called 911 and we made our way across the harbor to get a closer look. We watched as the smoke increased and large flames burst out amid the homes. It was alarming, especially when we heard the screams of children.
“The fire became very intense and it seemed as if the surrounding homes would be involved, but the firemen soon arrived and got things under control. Several explosions were heard at the height of the fire. Curious boaters in the crowded harbor congregated nearby to watch and Albion Alley came speeding in on his outboard from fishing on the sound. He ran his boat up on the beach, hopped out, and ran up to his home, but there seemed little he could do as the fire was intense and very dangerous. We were relieved to hear that no one was hurt.”
Jamie Greer of Oak Bluffs, a car mechanic and family friend, had preceded Mr. Alley off the water. When he saw the flames he ran to the house to let Mr. Alley’s dog out. In bare feet he attempted to move Mr. Alley’s truck but was unsuccessful due to the heat, according to one witness. Then he began hosing down a hedge that separated the flames from a series of propane tanks until firefighters arrived.
Albion Alley, Mr. Alley’s son, said the family was grateful for the response by firefighters. “It was a great effort,” he said.
The younger Mr. Alley was on South Beach when he heard the news of a fire in the neighborhood and he rushed home. “Everyone’s been great,” he said, “There was just an outpouring of support from the neighborhood.”
The home and garage workshop originally belonged to Mr. Alley’s grandfather, Albion “Beanie” Alley Jr., a well-known Islander. The workshop contained a lifetime of memories.
There was quite a lot of sentimental value, Mr. Alley said.
Tisbury fire chief John Schilling was off-Island when the fire broke out but he arrived in time to survey the cleanup effort. “Nothing is going to replace a lifetime’s worth of collectibles and tools, that’s the part that breaks your heart,” he said.
The pump-out boat based in Lake Tashmoo required repairs this spring because of hull corrosion caused by electrolysis. Weak electrical current running through the water can cause metal to corrode. Harbormaster Jay Wilbur believes that the problem with the pump-out boat was caused by an improperly installed outboard motor and hydraulic pump. The corrosion damage was repaired by welding new aluminum plates to the hull, at a cost of about $600, according to Mr. Wilbur. The boat is scheduled to be launched and ready for service this week.
Town administrator Jay Grande asked for a professional evaluation of the vessel after the repairs. “I asked for a survey of the boat by a professional so we can make sure it’s in good condition,” Mr. Grande said
The harbor patrol vessel needs repairs to the firefighting system. Mr. Wilbur said a bearing needs to be replaced, at a cost of approximately $2,000. He said he is not sure what caused the bearing failure. Repairs should be complete next week. While the firefighting mechanism is out of commission, the Oak Bluffs fire and patrol boat is on call in case of a fire emergency.
“It’s tough stuff to keep on top of,” Mr. Wilbur said. “None of us have the maintenance staff that we should. But keep in mind we’ve got boats provided by the federal government. We got a grant for the boats, and if we have to spend a couple thousand dollars to keep them running, we’re way ahead of the game.”
He said all the repair work was done by staff, and he considers the maintenance part of the normal cost of operating the vessels.
The federal Department of Homeland Security funded the vessel through a $265,306 grant. The aluminum boat arrived in September 2011 and was designed with security, law enforcement, rescue, and firefighting capabilities.
Our town shares in the shocked sorrow over the murder of Pat Gregory last weekend in California. For years he was a good friend to all and a strong leader in the Tisbury business community. He will be greatly missed. Only a month ago our son and family had met him on the ferry and of course enjoyed the meeting. Then we saw him again in Menemsha. Now they share in the sorrow.
This Saturday is the opening reception at the Louisa Gould Gallery for the Sail into Summer show. Island artists including Adam Thompson, John Holladay, Christie Scheele, Laura Roberts, Donna Blackburn, and Nancy Furino have artwork on exhibit until June 23.
The Tisbury Senior Center hosts the annual open house on Sunday, June 1, from 2 to 4 pm, with music by Christine McLean and Serendipity. Refreshments will be served and all are welcome.
From Memorial Day through August you are invited to a free tour of the 1828 meeting house of Edgartown’s Federated Church, which will be open from 1 to 3 pm every day. Information about the history of the church will be available. You can sit in the pews downstairs or upstairs and imagine a worship service in this special place which has changed little in the past 186 years. A large chandelier has old whale oil lamps. The large windows let in bright sunlight. The architect, Frederick Baylies Jr., later designed the Baptist Church and the Old Whaling Church. For more, call 508-627-4421.,
The late Pat Brown was the school nurse for all of the Island schools and uncounted children. You are asked to send memories and photos to Jennifer Marlin (Jennifer.firstname.lastname@example.org) or Box 1311, Edgartown 02539 to be shared at Pat’s Celebration of Life on June 27.
FlexiTickets are available at the Vineyard Playhouse until May 31 for the 2014 summer season performances on the new Patricia Neal stage. Opening night for The Whaleship Essex is June 21. A Wiki-Folk Musical Experience in Two Acts, Search: Paul Clayton opens July 19. Opening August 16 is Satchel Paige and The Kansas City Swing, where jazz fills the night, baseball the day in 1947. Tickets are available online now at mvplayhouse.org.
Tom Dresser, Herb Foster, and Jay Schofield will talk about their book “Martha’s Vineyard in World War II” on Tuesday at the Vineyard Haven Library and on Wednesday at the Bunch of Grapes, both at 7 pm.
The children’s march to the sea with flowers on the Friday before Memorial Day is the most wonderful event on our Island. You feel the emotional tug as they toss the blossoms on the water in memory of those who have died for our freedom.
Happy anniversary to Allan and Ann Davey, who mark 22 happy years together.
Big bunches of birthday balloon wishes go out today to Elaine Ciancio. Tomorrow wish the best to Olyvia Houston. Victoria ‘Honey’ Campos, Shawn Townes, Leah Ellis, and Shawn Willoughby celebrate on Saturday. Betsy Edge and Ann Haller party on Monday. Tuesday belongs to Kylie Townes and Kristina Ivory. Birthday greetings to Steve Mussell and Cheryl Stark on Wednesday.
Heard on Main Street: Fly your flag and celebrate Memorial Day with friends and neighbors on Monday.
Several Tisbury business owners are taking spring’s theme of renewal to heart, with plans to launch new or revamped enterprises in old familiar places. These include a new coffee shop featuring crepes and a take-out restaurant offering barbecue in the future. In conversations this week, business owners described their plans to The Times.
At 20 Union Street, the former Mad Martha’s Homemade Ice Cream shop will undergo a transformation into a take-out eatery, operated by Fella and Jane Cecilio, owners of a well-known, longtime Island catering company and Fella’s Take Out in West Tisbury.
Although they have already begun work in the building, eager would-be patrons will have to wait a while, Ms. Cecilio told The Times in a phone call Tuesday.
“We had hoped to be in by the end of June, but realized it won’t be feasible, so we won’t take over the lease until January,” she said. “We’ll continue to work on the building and plan to open the doors next March or April.”
Ms. Cecilio said the new Fella’s in Vineyard Haven will be open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The menu will include breakfast sandwiches, muffins, sandwiches, soups, and salads, and burgers. Although primarily a take-out operation, there will be dining space for about 18 people.
“We’re not going to do pizza, because there is plenty of that in Vineyard Haven,” Ms. Cecilio said, “but we hope to do barbeque dinners, at least in July and August, with chicken, ribs, cornbread, and coleslaw.”
As a compromise for those who may miss their old ice cream spot, she added, “We’re going to devote a corner of the store to gelato.” The traditional Italian style ice cream is made with milk, cream, various sugars, and flavorings.
Ms. Cecilio said she and her husband are looking forward to their new venture. “We’re disappointed about missing the summer, but it’s better to start off right,” she said.
After almost four years, the smell of coffee will be wafting once again from the space that housed the former coffeehouse, Che’s Lounge. Natalie Grewal plans to open Nat’s Nook, an eatery with a focus on coffee and crepes, on June 9, in the cul-de-sac off Main Street across the street from Bunch of Grapes.
The menu will include sweet crepes, with fillings such as local jams and fresh fruits, and savory crepes, with fillings such as chicken, turkey, ham, and vegetable varieties. There will also be crepe and ciabatta sandwich options, bagels, baked goods, muffins and cookies, Ms. Grewal said.
As for coffee, Ms. Grewal said she is “dabbling” with choices from Chilmark Coffee Company and Rao’s Coffee Roasting Company in Amherst, and Kicking Horse Coffee, a company on the west coast of Canada not far from where she grew up. Ice tea and chai also will be served. Patrons can choose to sip and sit indoors or at outside tables, as well.
Ms. Grewal said her business partner, Andy Kahl of Chilmark, who does custom carpeting and property caretaking, has been a huge help in the construction work to open the shop.
Morrice Florist, the longtime family-owned floral business at 149 State Road, recently changed hands. Emily Coulter, an Island wedding planner for 10 years, bought the business on March 31 from Kim O’Callaghan, whose grandfather, James F. Morrice, started the shop in 1940. Ms. O’Callaghan still owns the building and will continue working there through June. Both spoke with The Times about the new arrangement, in a phone call on Monday.
“Kim is staying on for three months to help get me through Easter, Mother’s Day, and June weddings,” Ms. Coulter said.
“She has the artistic part down, and when it comes to learning about the business side, I’m the queen of frugal,” Ms. O’Callaghan added. She said although she is not sure about what she will do next, she recently earned a master’s degree in education after attending classes off-Island every other weekend for two years.
Ms. Coulter, who is now working as a full-time floral arranger, said she learned the art on her own. She plans to be the shop’s in-house wedding floral adviser/designer, and of course maintain its regular business of selling flowers, with more inventory bought from local growers. Ms. Coulter said she will also try to cater to landscapers’ needs and offer them a discount.
As a new addition, Ms. Coulter said she is planting flowers in back of the shop where Mr. Morrice’s old greenhouse used to be. “We want to create a garden where customers could bring their lunch, to sit on benches outside to enjoy,” she explained.
Café Moxie update
For those wondering about Café Moxie at 48 Main Street, which closed over the winter, Main Street business people are buzzing with news that Mad Martha’s, which has left its spot on Union Street, is planning a move into the vacant restaurant space.
Owner Mike Ryan said in a phone conversation this week that a sale is pending, but he would not confirm the buyer or talk about Mad Martha’s. Mr. Ryan put the restaurant on the market for $1.25 million on February 1. He said at the time his decision was prompted by a job opportunity in California.
“We’re getting closer, but the deal is not finalized,” Mr. Ryan told The Times in phone call Monday. “I don’t want to say anything until everything is signed, but it’s very promising, and there will be more news later.”
Café Moxie was rebuilt after a fire destroyed it on July 4, 2008. It reopened in October 2012.
Other news on the street
Currently there is no plan for use of the Capawock Theatre, which has been closed all winter, nor are there events scheduled this summer, according to Benjamin “Buzzy” Hall, whose family owns the theater. He told The Times in a phone call yesterday that work is being done on the inside, and to “stay tuned for more developments.”
In February, Tisbury selectmen approved a public amusement license for the Capawock, so it could be used as a venue for other types of performances in addition to movies.
Tisbury selectmen have agreed to raise fines from $15 to $25, for overtime parking and for parking more than one foot from the curb, in the wrong direction, or at the wrong angle. The increase, approved Tuesday, followed a public hearing. In other parking related business, selectmen acted on a request from Vineyard Haven Public Library director Amy Ryan and approved placing parking signs on Main Street and Greenwood Avenue adjacent to the library that stipulate spaces are for library patrons only, from 10 am to 5:30 pm. Although Mr. Kristal asked whether the signs would be enforceable, Ms. Ryan and library trustee Marilyn Wortman said the purpose is to discourage people from parking in front of the library for days at a time. Selectmen also approved a request from superintendent of schools James Weiss to authorize Tisbury School principal John Custer to submit a letter of interest to the Massachusetts School Building Authority for a grant that would partially fund construction of a new school. Artist Julia Kidd received permission to put up a sign at the Tashmoo Overlook, from April 27 to May 12, telling passers-by, “Of Course, I Have Not Forgotten You.” Ms. Kidd, an artist and psychotherapist, previously erected signs around the Island. In earlier comments, she said her public art project is intended to inspire Island residents to focus on the positive aspects of their lives and feel good about themselves.
The MOA includes a commitment by the company, with a total value of $1.165 million, to support various town projects and initiatives. These include donations to affordable housing, downtown beautification projects, traffic control and mitigation, and public restroom upgrades. The company would also work with the town on construction schedules.
In return, Tisbury would allow the company to use part of the town parking lot for construction staging and lend its support to the project, now under review by the Martha’s Vineyard Commission (MVC) as a development of regional impact.
Stop & Shop proposes to consolidate three abutting properties and remove the existing buildings, including its existing store, in order to construct a new, two-story, 30,500-square-foot market. The plans also include a parking lot for 41 vehicles in an enclosed area on the ground level beneath the market.
The announcement of the agreement followed the public portion of the regular Tuesday night meeting. Although the Stop & Shop was on the regular agenda, town administrator Jay Grande cut discussion short. He said the town had received a draft summary report from a Stop & Shop project facilitator and that the selectmen would review it in executive session at the end of the meeting, then reconvene in open session to discuss it.
Before heading downstairs to meet in executive session, selectman chairman Jeff Kristal told members of the press and the public waiting in the Katharine Cornell Theatre that he and selectman Jon Snyder might have something to announce about the project when they returned. Selectman Tristan Israel was absent.
“I am happy to report we’ve reached a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with regard to the Stop & Shop, not the building, but the parking lot that the town owns,” Mr. Kristal said, when he and Mr. Snyder reconvened in open session 35 minutes later. They voted to approve the MOA, subject to review by town counsel.
Details in the dollars
According to the MOA, Stop & Shop’s financial commitment includes: $100,000 to the Tisbury Affordable Housing Trust; an additional $10,000 a year for 10 years to the housing trust; $150,000 to Habitat for Humanity of Martha’s Vineyard; and $250,000 for deposit into a town-established fund for downtown traffic mitigation issues.
Stop & Shop also makes a 10-year commitment to the town to donate $10,000 to the Tisbury beautification committee and $30,000 for traffic mitigation issues, including police officer control and maintenance activities in or about the town-owned Water Street parking lot next to the grocery store.
Under the heading of in-kind and construction phase commitments, Stop & Shop pledged an additional $165,000 toward renovations and upgrades to the town’s restroom facility at the back of the Water Street lot, including curbing, landscaping, and sidewalks. Stop & Shop also committed to maintain the parking lot and plantings along the Water Street sidewalk.
In addition, Stop & Shop agreed to relocate the Caleb Prouty House, behind the supermarket at 15 Cromwell Lane, to a storage site mutually agreeable to the town and Stop & Shop. If the town’s housing trust decides to accept a transfer and conveyance of the house, Stop & Shop will arrange and pay for the structure’s relocation from the storage site to a site designated by the trust.
Stop & Shop bought the Caleb Prouty House in February 2012. A report by consultants subsequently hired by the MVC concluded that the house is historically significant and eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.
“We are actively working with two interested parties right now that want the house, so hopefully we can make that work and facilitate a nice, easy transfer of the property rather than a holding spot,” Mr. Kristal said.
The MOA stipulates that the house will be relocated prior to and as a condition of the issuance of a building permit for the project.
The MOA requires Tisbury to indicate its support of the project to the MVC. The town has agreed to keep Norton Lane extension, between Main and Water streets, open to vehicular and pedestrian traffic, to ensure that Stop & Shop will have vehicular, pedestrian, and bicycle access to the replacement store’s truck dock, garage, and pedestrian entrances.
The town will also allow Stop & Shop to construct a sidewalk on Water Street in front of the replacement store and to use a portion of the parking lot for construction staging. The town agrees to work cooperatively with Stop & Shop in connection with any redesign of the parking lot.
Tisbury selectmen voted to approve a conceptual plan for the Water Street municipal parking lot on March 11. They agreed, after a discussion with the town’s parking lot committee and representatives from Stop & Shop, that the plan would serve as a working template in the development of the final design.
Geoghan Coogan, a Tisbury attorney and former selectman, who represents Stop & Shop, said the supermarket company has asked the MVC to reschedule the next public hearing, now set for April 17, because two of the commissioners will be absent. The company’s request to schedule the hearing sooner than April 17 doesn’t help because the commission members are away. Under commission rules, commissioners who miss more than one session of a DRI are not allowed to participate in the final vote.
Optimism and hard work
In a telephone conversation Wednesday morning, Mr. Kristal told The Times the agreement is fair and would provide benefits to the town in the short and long term. Mr. Kristal said the MVC review process has been extremely slow, but he is optimistic that with the town’s agreement the process come to an end, and the MVC will approve the project with the conditions outlined in the MOA.
He said people need to look forward. “While people see a mass of a building, I see three properties cleaned up in the downtown area,” he said.
Mr. Kristal said the agreement bodes well for future cooperation. “I feel extremely confident that the town and Stop & Shop, five, ten years down the road, if there is another project, that the town can go to Stop & Shop and ask them to help us out in some fashion.”
In a conversation with The Times Wednesday, Mr. Coogan stressed that the MVC process has necessarily awaited the negotiation of details between the company and the town.
“I think it has taken some hard work to get to where we were last night [April 1],” Mr. Coogan said. “This (MOA) was a piece of the puzzle that’s been very difficult to get to. What’s been difficult to explain is the combination of an applicant, the combination of a commission, and a town who is really a part of the application whether they wanted to be or not. They’ve always been in it because they’re a neighbor, they’re right there. You have a parking lot right next to you, and there are a lot of details you have to deal with.”
Greg O’Brien, a consultant to Stop & Shop, said the mitigation measures included in the MOA were the company’s response to requests from the Tisbury selectmen. “Stop & Shop is doing the best it can in responding with mitigations that benefit the community as a whole, beyond the scope of our project,” he said.
As an example, he pointed to $250,000 in mitigation to improve traffic flow at Five Corners, in addition to $30,000 annually for 10 years for police officer control or other traffic mitigation
“The traffic impact of the proposed new Stop & Shop is less than a six percent increase, as noted in our peer-reviewed traffic study,” he said, “yet Stop & Shop is contributing far beyond any impact for the greater need of public safety at Five Corners.”
And Mr. Coogan pointed to measures outlined in the MOA that give the town continuing, multi-year assistance in addressing problems that exist today, before the reconstruction and enlargement of the market, and that will need to be addressed and readdressed in the future as other changes occur in the neighborhood.