MVC greenlights ice arena plans

MVC approved the arena's plans to expand and improve the facility.

The Martha’s Vineyard Commission (MVC) on Thursday approved MV Ice Arena plans to improve and expand the arena. The decision Thursday clears the way for the arena, in Oak Bluffs opposite Martha’s Vineyard High School and next to the Y, to seek a final building permit for its $3.7 million project.

Next, the arena plan is on the April 20 Oak Bluffs planning board meeting agenda. It is also on the zoning board of appeals (ZBA) agenda later that day, because, in addition to a construction permit, the plans require special zoning permission to add a nonconforming addition, as well as to renovate the existing building. The arena is a pre-existing, now nonconforming, commercial building in a residential zoning district.

After 20 minutes of discussion and questions put to MV Ice Arena general manager Peter Lambos and Geoghan Coogan, arena board chairman, MVC members satisfied themselves that use of the facilities would not now include a full kitchen, although the addition could house a kitchen, and would not be used for events other than small birthday parties.

And, arena representatives said they would not outfit the arena with mats for use in other sports. The arena has a sand base now that will be replaced with a concrete base that would accommodate other sports.

Mr. Coogan said that long-term plans envision year-round use and might include a full kitchen, but neither is financially viable now. “The addition allows us to do in warm conditions what we do in the cold now, including small birthday events and a warm area in which teams can stretch out,” he said.

Of the possibility of a future kitchen in the added space, Mr. Coogan said, “We designed it out, in order to have a one-time design cost. Long term, we’d like a year-round use, but we don’t know how the finances will look. We’ll probably continue to use vending machines now. Installing mats would cost about $200,000, and that’s not feasible. Pete Lambos will have to determine future financial feasibilities.”

Mr. Coogan added that the arena would return for MVC approval if it wants to expand beyond current uses, which are allowed by the MVC approval. The arena must get  MVC approval for added uses.