Beach Road reimagined


To the Editor:

The article in The MV Times by Steve Myrick (July 24, “Beach Road reconstruction plans spur zoning discussion”) did a pretty good job of interviewing select individuals on Beach Road about the Waterfront Bylaw. I was asked to comment, but declined to participate in The Times article based on what they wrote about the Nathan Mayhew Seminars, which, in my opinion, caused its demise.

However, I would like to comment on the bylaw. I was against it from the beginning, but the town voted it in. My reasoning was simple. The splitting of the land into two zones made it impossible to allow property owners to do what they wanted to do with their properties and so nothing would happen. Unless of course, something akin to spot zoning or looking the other way were the methods of development. In that case, the opportunity for corruption was clear. Whether there was or not, is not for me to say, but it is clear that the rules were not followed nor are they now.

There were other problems with it, but all in all, I thought it could never work. And it never did.

Now we have the state coming in and wanting to do something, and we have the power lines in the way. The power lines can be gotten rid of by availing the legislation outlined in Chapter 166 Section 22-D and related sections. Our town administrator, Jay Grande, is familiar with this and can guide us. We need a town vote.

The state came down here and recommended taking 1.5 feet from each side of Beach Road by eminent domain. Vasha and I would be okay with this, and most property owners would. The benefits are clear. However, taking anything more than this anywhere would lead to a worse outcome than even the Waterfront bylaw. Instead, I believe, and many people believe, that once the power lines are down there should be planting of trees so that both sides of Beach Road are covered providing a beautiful gateway, with better access for all citizens.

In addition, measurements that were taken, and involvement with almost all other property owners has made it clear that taking down the trees for bigger sidewalks is not desirable. It also became clear that certain businesses could not function at all with a larger taking. This is a very, very bad idea. It should be killed.

Re-writing the bylaw is something that should have been done as soon as it was adopted. This was discussed at the town meeting when it was adopted. It was voted in on that basis. Nothing has been done. It is about time. Let the ideas flow. We can change, and we can still encourage waterfront boat building if that is what we want by offering incentives. We can discuss this and other ideas when the opportunity is given to us to do so.

Frank Brunelle

Vineyard Haven