MVC questions on agenda for Chilmark selectmen


Chilmark selectmen met Tuesday with two of the town’s representatives to the Martha’s Vineyard Commission (MVC) to discuss several topics, including new Island-wide regulations for large-scale wind turbines and proposed changes to the commission’s so-called DRI checklist. Selectmen met with MVC member Bill Bennett and recently elected chairman Chris Murphy, who gave an update on the commission’s efforts to revise the DRI checklist, which helps determine what projects go the commission for a review as a development of regional impact. Mr. Murphy urged selectmen to attend planning workshops and offer comments to the commission members as they continue their review of the checklist, which they are required to do every two years. “When you think about it, that DRI checklist at the heart of it is 35-years-old, and it needs constant updating. If you think about town government 35 years ago, it was a lot smaller and less sophisticated, and so was the commission,” he said. “It’s time to take a good look at it and say, this is what the commission needs to do and isn’t doing, and this is what the commission does now and doesn’t need to do,” he added.

The MVC began their review of the checklist last Monday during a meeting of their land-use planning committee. During that meeting some argued in favor of expanding the checklist so it would trigger a review for larger trophy homes. Others called for loosening the rules for DRI referrals.

Selectmen this week encouraged the commission to at least consider expanding the checklist to include a review of oversized homes, which are especially common in Chilmark.

“I can see a lot of time was spent talking about very large houses or trophy homes, and that is an issue we have talked about quite a lot in Chilmark. It is something that quite a few people would like more control over,” Mr. Doty said.

Mr. Murphy said it might be difficult to regulate the size of a residential home, but said it was worth discussing. “Whatever you are even thinking about proposing, just put it out there, this is the time to have these discussions.”

Selectmen then turned their attention to the model wind regulations drafted by the MVC’s wind-working group, which is tasked with drafting Island-wide regulations for large-scale wind turbines.

Mr. Bennett said the model wind regulations, received by the town last month, were only meant to be a starting point and template for town officials.

“These are draft regulations, you can approve them as they are or make modifications,” he said. “Every town will be different. I don’t think each town will rubber stamp them. You can change the heights, noise levels, setbacks or whatever. We presented these to the town as a sort of skeleton.”

Selectmen agreed to refer the model regulations to the planning board to begin their review. They said they hope to present a final plan to voters at the annual town meeting on April 25.