MVC considers change in voting bylaw


The Martha’s Vineyard Commission last week began a review of the agency’s bylaws, including consideration of a change in the requirements under which a commissioner may vote on a development of regional impact (DRI) or district of critical planning concern (DCPC), and a change in the posting requirements for meetings.

The main change would allow commissioners who miss one session of a DRI or DCPC hearing to continue to participate, in certain circumstances, provided they watch the video, listen to the audio, or read a transcript of the meeting they missed.

The MVC has the authority to allow members to participate remotely within the requirements of the Massachusetts Open Meeting Law, MVC executive director Mark London told The Times.

“I think this came out of a number of things,” Mr. London said. “One was the Stop & Shop hearing, and the Alliance Community Church hearing had been going on for a quite a while. The quorum for eligible commissioners was dwindling and there was a possibility of having to start all over.”

The MVC will also consider revising its policy for posting meeting times. The old public meeting law required that notices be sent to all towns 48 hours prior to a meeting, excluding Sundays. The law now requires that Saturdays also be excluded from the 48-hour delay for posting.

“The proposed modification brings the bylaws up to date with respect to the latest version of the Open Meeting Law,” Mr. London said.

Council on Healthy Aging reports

In other MVC business last week, Peter Temple, executive director of the Martha’s Vineyard Donors Collaborative (MVDC) discussed the Island’s growing elderly community.

“The 65-plus Vineyard population is going to triple over the next 20 years,” Mr. Temple said. “Perhaps the infrastructure is not prepared for that.”

Mr. Temple said healthy aging is defined as the development and maintenance of optimal mental, social, and physical well-being and function in older adults by promoting community-wide health and wellness through a cooperative, integrated network of community members including elders, health practitioners, health and social service organizations.

A recently-completed study by a team of students from the University of Massachusetts Medical School/Graduate School of Nursing’s Rural Scholars Group called for immediate action to serve residents over age 65, who are expected to include one third of the Island population by 2030, according to preliminary numbers reported by the MVDC.

The task force is a subset of the Dukes County Health Council (DCHC), which arranged funding for the medical student research project. Its mission is to create a supportive community for aging on the Island.

The MVDC is proposing mitigation efforts to address the aging population that include creating affordable housing for the elderly and professional staff to take care of the elderly.

Written Decisions

Also Thursday, the MVC issued a written decision approving NSTAR’s replacement of older utility poles with newer, taller poles, with conditions.

The MVC concluded a development of regional impact (DRI) with NSTAR on Thursday, November 14.

The conditions include requiring a collaborative effort between NSTAR and a working group of town officials, to address issues as they arise in the future. Two more conditions, taken from an August 22 letter from Tisbury town administrator Jay Grande, would require NSTAR to dedicate two fiber optics lines from the mainland to the Island for municipal use, and require NSTAR to relocate utility poles on Beach Street from Five Corners to Main Street.

NSTAR had not applied or submitted to the MVC’s DRI process, but the MVC went through the motions anyhow and ultimately accepted offers from NSTAR to improve its coordination with Island towns in the future.

The MVC also issued a written decision of approval for New Hampshire-based Rymes Propane to operate on a leased 20,000-square-foot parcel, part of a 10-acre property owned by Goodale Construction in Tisbury. The site has been subdivided and currently serves as a staging and storage area for several construction and industrial companies.