Abuse of power in Oak Bluffs


To the Editor:

I take my hat off to Stan Merry and Jack Coleman and the Sign. It’s high time that people stand up to the abuse of power that is so prevalent in Oak Bluffs.

The Copeland/ Historic Board is its own worst enemy. First of all, the board members have been on the board way to long; they should have term limits. Secondly, they are so inconsistent and un-swaying in their decisions that people leave the meetings more confused than when they went in. When the board states, as it did in the Coleman decision, that the property has absolutely no historic value, that should be the end of it. For Renee Balter to vote against the window installation and vote against the rest of the board’s approval, shows she is out of touch with reality.

Casement or swinging windows are the oldest type of window, not just in the USA but the world. My personal experiences with the board is if you showed up with a architect and were using either Anderson or Marvin vinyl windows you got approved. Anderson and Marvin reps have made presentations to the board. If you went into a meeting representing yourself and wanted to use other vinyl windows, you were usually denied, with Renee Balter stating you had to use an all-wood window with real divided glass. On the Island, unless you paint them every two years, they would last maybe five years. The new wood doesn’t have the natural decay resistance of the old growth woods that the early windows were made from.

First off, the board should get rid of the old wood, and start with some fresh minds. Then it should stop using threats of daily fines to accomplish its goals. Education, folks, not intimidation. The elderly in Oak Bluffs can hardly afford to replace windows, do upkeep to the board’s specs, and then try to keep their homes in good order.

If you drive around, you see many fine homes that are showing severe neglect, I wonder why. I doubt they want them that way. So the next time a local shows up before the board, treat them as a person, not a person without an architect to be abused and run over. And what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

Chip Mitchell

Oak Bluffs