MVC will review five-lot development of Old Olson Farm in West Tisbury

The deadline to file nomination papers for the Martha's Vineyard Commission is approaching. — Martha's Vineyard Times file photo

Huseby Mountain Farm, LLC, a real estate investment group led by Joe El-Deiry of Vineyard Haven and John Keene of Chilmark, will present its plan to subdivide approximately 31 acres of land in West Tisbury adjacent to Pine Hill Road to the Martha’s Vineyard Commission (MVC) next month. The land was once was part of a large farm owned by John and Debbie Olson, and abuts Mr. Keene’s company, John Keene Excavation, on Old Stage Road.

The property was previously under agreement by an investment company with plans for a 55-unit subdivision, pending access. When that failed, Mr. Keene and Mr. El-Deiry purchased the property to keep it as intact as possible, Mr. Keene told The Times.

Last Monday night, Mr. El-Deiry and Chris Alley of Schofield, Barbini, and Hoehn, the project’s engineers, met with members of the MVC’s Land Use Planning Committee (LUPC) to review the development plan as a precursor to next month’s public hearing.

The proposal is to subdivide the land into one 10-acre lot, one 9-acre lot, one 7.5-acre lot, one 3-acre lot, and a 1-acre affordable homesite lot. Approximately half of the 31 acres would remain fields and woods.

The scale of the subdivision and the fragmentation of wildlife habitats generated discussion, as did access to Pine Hill Road.

Earlier this year, the West Tisbury Planning Board nominated Pine Hill Road as a district of critical planning concern (DCPC) Special Way. Such a designation would impose a development moratorium extending 20 feet from either side of Pine Hill Road’s centerline. The MVC accepted the nomination, citing among other things that the rural road has been in use in one form or another since the 17th century. A public hearing on the designation is slated for tonight, Feb. 19. Approval would still be needed at West Tisbury town meeting.

Mr. El-Deiry told LUPC members that such a designation might require radical changes to the subdivision plan, including the need to create a new private road parallel to Pine Hill Road, beyond its 20-foot protected boundary.

The MVC has scheduled a public hearing on the Huseby subdivision plan on March 5, but it is subject to change.