To the Editor:
Recently a developer submitted a plan to subdivide a 7.1-acre parcel of land off the narrow lane Mullen Way in Edgartown. The Edgartown planning board unanimously approved this plan on Jan. 19, despite a 10-lot statutory mandate to refer the plan to the Martha’s Vineyard Commission. It is noteworthy that this was an 8-acre parcel as recently as September 2014, when unbeknownst to abutters, the planning board unanimously approved a division of the 8 acres to 7, creating a 2.5-acre subdivision. This additional subdivision is now considered “related ownership.”
In response to a strong letter from the MVC requesting this project be referred, the Edgartown town counsel wrote a harsh letter of admonishment to the planning board, and they reluctantly agreed to follow the law (Feb. 5, “Edgartown planning board rescinds Mullen Way approval”). When a similar plan had been submitted by the same developer in 2006, the planning board wrote a letter, dated June 22, 2006, signed by Alan Wilson, the chairman at that time, who still sits on the board today, referring the plan to the MVC, stating, “This is a proposed development of 9 additional house sites on 8 acres of land which is off a dead end road 12 feet to 14 feet wide within a 17 foot right of way which already has 16 houses on it. The development will have a very negative impact on this special old established neighborhood.”
The same selectmen who currently sit on the Edgartown Board of Selectmen also sounded the alarm, with a letter to the planning board dated June 20, 2006, stating, “This board shares some of the same concerns the abutters have. There will be significant impact on the road that is inadequate with limited access.
“This is a narrow village type road in a small scale neighborhood where any change could significantly impact the character of this neighborhood in a significant way. This will also add more traffic to Pease Point Way, which is a heavily traveled road with poor visibility.”
The Edgartown chief of police also wrote the commission a letter, dated June 26, 2006, stating, “I notified the Edgartown Planning Board that the proposed development should be denied or referred to the MVC for further study. I arrived at this conclusion after my assessment of the traffic impact study prepared by the proponents, and the review of that study conducted by a Transportation Planner for the MVC.”
Eventually the Edgartown Planning Board will have to reconsider this subdivision. My question to the planning board is this: What has changed on Mullen Way since 2006, when Mr. Wilson signed that June 22, 2006, letter in which the board stated that the development would have a “very negative impact,” and the same selectmen who now sit on the board and the 2006 chief of police echoed the same sentiments and concerns?
The only difference I can see is that the town allowed the developer to tear down one of the oldest houses in Edgartown to gain access to his new subdivision. Perhaps when the Mullen Way plan is submitted to the board, the members will be kind enough to specifically identify the reasons why the series of concerns of the planning board, selectmen and chief of police outlined in 2006 are no longer worthy of consideration.