The Martha’s Vineyard Commission approved the Lagoon Ridge development in Oak Bluffs last Thursday following a lengthy development of regional impact (DRI) hearing process. Approval came with a long list of conditions intended to minimize the project’s impact on ailing Lagoon Pond.
Davio Danielson has made many trips to the MVC over the years in his attempt to develop the 32.5 acres of family-owned land off Barnes Road. Over time, the site plan changed from finished construction to creating 23 lots with the potential for up to 25 dwelling units.
The MVC required that Mr. Danielson post a bond, the amount to be determined, if his onsite treatment facility does not meet nitrogen removal specifications — 13 milligrams per liter or less.
“A major concern was making sure the development met all of our standards, and that moving forward, we’re protected, and there’s a plan B in place,” MVC executive director Adam Turner told The Times. Mr. Turner said a well will be dug downstream from the treatment plant, and nitrogen levels will be tested before the system goes online, and then monthly after 50 percent of the units are online. If nitrogen benchmarks are being met, tests will be reduced to quarterly.
Mr. Danielson told The Times he is confident the proposed Amphidrome wastewater treatment system will meet MVC standards. “The Amphidrome system has been used extensively in sensitive areas on Cape Cod with great success,” he said. “This system will get nitrogen levels down to 5 milligrams per liter, which is a third of the MVC requirement. It will be three to four years before there’s a drop of nitrogen in the pond, and the effluent is going to be better than drinking water quality.”
Mr. Turner noted that this is the first time the MVC has permitted a cluster development. “When you put in cluster subdivisions, the tradeoff is small lots in exchange for preserving open space. These small lots have to be engineered and supported. You can’t just drop in a septic. For us be fair, we can approve smart growth while we protect the water, which is precisely what the commission should do.”
Lagoon Ridge is the first project in Oak Bluffs to utilize the flexible-development bylaw, which allows density bonuses in return for creation of affordable housing and preservation of open space. Lagoon Ridge will go before the Oak Bluffs planning board for final site-plan review.