During the brief public comment period at the end of Tuesday’s Edgartown planning board hearing for the proposed expansion of the Stop and Shop, Edgartown National Bank president and CEO Fielding Moore told the gathering that the project couldn’t move forward until there was an agreement between the bank and Stop and Shop.
“We have a lease through 2020,” Mr. Moore said. “This project can’t move ahead with Ahold [the developer] until we have an agreement, and we we are still far apart.”
The hearing included presentations from members of the project team that is serving as a liaison between the town and Ahold, the international Netherlands-based retailer that owns the Stop and Shop grocery store chain.
Traffic engineer Randy Hart explained the changes to circulation patterns that would be part of the expanded parking lot for the larger store. The plan that Mr. Hart showed to the board and members of the public did not include the bank, but he noted that there was a contingency plan that would accommodate it when an agreement was reached.
The main changes to the current arrangement include a new parking area to the west of the store and a reduction of the number of entrances on Upper Main Street from three (which includes the entrance to the bank) to two. The existing parking lot would remain unchanged, except for a possible widening of individual parking spaces.
The western entrance, Mr. Hart said, would be moved so that it aligned with Pinehurst Road to create a four-way intersection, with stop signs at Pinehurst and the exit of the Stop and Shop. Crosswalks across Upper Main Street would remain, and the orientation of one would be changed from diagonal to perpendicular.
Planning board members had several questions about the details of the plan for the expanded parking areas, which were answered by project team members Mr. Hart, civil engineer David Taglianetti, attorney Geoghan Coogan, and project manager Lisa Davis.
In addition to Mr. Moore’s announcement of the state of negotiations between Stop and Shop and his bank, resident Kathi Pagoda expressed concern about the realignment of the store lot exit with Pinehurst Road. Mr. Hart told her that studies had shown that creating four-way intersections led to fewer “conflicts” compared with unaligned roads entering a main thoroughfare. Ms. Pagoda remained unconvinced.
The hearing was continued until Jan. 3 because the planning board was not yet ready to send a recommendation to the Martha’s Vineyard Commission, and there were still many written comments from the public to address. Mr. Coogan was assured by Lucy Morrison, the clerk of the board, that he and his team would be sent all the comments before the next meeting.