MVC takes on Santander Bank

Commission votes to require the banking behemoth to restore red clay roof tiles on historic Tisbury building.

The MVC has declared the asphalt shingles must go. — Stacey Rupolo

A showdown is shaping up on Main Street in Tisbury between the Martha’s Vineyard Commission (MVC) and Santander Bank.

On Thursday night, commissioners overwhelmingly voted to require the bank to remove the asphalt shingles that were installed on the Tisbury branch office last year and replace them with period-appropriate red clay tile shingles.

Once the final written decision is voted by the commission, the bank will have two months to respond with a plan and six months to complete the work, or face legal action.

In an unusual move, commissioners voted to bypass Land Use Planning Committee (LUPC) hearings and go straight to a vote of the full commission.

“This should have come to us for a mandatory review because they replaced more than 25 percent of the exterior of a historic building,” Chilmark commissioner Joan Malkin said. “That’s important, because we’ve had legal advice that if a town board doesn’t send you something to review [we] still have jurisdiction to deal with it. It is crystal clear to me that we have jurisdiction over this as a mandatory review.”

The bank has maintained, via local attorney Sean Murphy, that it should not be required to replace the roof, citing the building permit approved last August by Tisbury building inspector Ken Barwick. The permit clearly states asphalt shingles would replace the original red clay tiles, which dated to 1905.

Citizen sentiment displayed at an MVC hearing on May 18 and in numerous letters to the commission has been unanimous in favor of requiring a roof reboot.

Development of regional impact (DRI) coordinator Paul Foley said initial cost estimates for the clay tiles were roughly $175,000 more than asphalt shingles, but over the life of the warranty — 75 years for clay tiles and 25 years for asphalt shingles — clay tiles would be more economical. He also said the roofing contractor, Pennsylvania-based CP Rankin, told the bank that there might be “local issues” with the asphalt shingles. “But the bank goes by price per square foot. That’s all they care about,” he said.

No representatives from Santander Bank, other than Mr. Murphy, have responded to the MVC to date.

Executive director Adam Turner told commissioners he would consult with MVC counsel for the specific wording of the decision, and present the commission with a final draft at an upcoming meeting.

Edgartown commissioner James Joyce cast the only dissenting vote.


Dispensary nixed for now

Geoff Rose, chief executive officer of Patient Centric of Martha’s Vineyard, presented commissioners with an extensively revised plan for a proposed medical marijuana dispensary (MMD) and cultivation operation at 90 Dr. Fisher Rd. in West Tisbury.

Mr. Rose removed the dispensary from the application, and now seeks only to use the site for cultivation.

“We’ve listened to the commission, to the neighbors, we’ve listened to others, and think it’s in the best interest of patients and the community to modify the proposal,” he said.

The change will reduce the building’s footprint from 9,600 square feet to 3,600 square feet. Mr. Rose said the change would address neighborhood concerns about increased traffic on the dirt road, often used by pedestrians and equestrians. “We estimate trip generation will drop from 150 trips per day to 38 trips per day,” he said.

Mr. Rose said his license from the state requires him to have the cultivation operation and the dispensary on the Vineyard. He said he does not have a site for the dispensary yet.

The written record at the MVC will be closed on June 15. The LUPC will meet soon thereafter to formulate a recommendation to the full commission.

In other business, William Westman got his long-sought permission from the commission to demolish the dilapidated house at 29 Franklin St. in Tisbury. Commissioners added the condition that he use wood, not PVC, for trim, and that he must abide by conditions of the Tisbury Historic Commission.