Neighbors invited to see Huseby Meadows

Abutters and other local residents spill into an oak-hemmed field on a site visit to the old Olsen Farm now owned by Huseby Meadows LLC. Development of affordable housing is part of the project in the works for the land. — Rich Saltzberg

Abutters and folks interested in learning more about development plans for the old Olsen Farm in West Tisbury joined developer William Cumming, Island Housing Trust (IHT) executive director Philippe Jordi, and IHT project manager Derrill Bazzy for a site visit to the expansive West Tisbury parcel Monday afternoon.

The sale of the land, as well as the sale of adjoining acreage off of Old Courthouse Road, put many local residents on edge when it became evident the developer intended to depart from subdivision plans worked out by the seller over a multi-year process.

Throughout the site visit, Mr. Bazzy emphasized that the project’s baseline will be the development of regional impact (DRI) plan of the previous owner, Huseby Mountain Farm LLC. Permutations going forward would be difficult to forecast because they are contingent on how various government bodies alter the project.

One  vision Mr. Cumming conveyed was a barn-like, multi-unit structure that would house teachers at below-market rents. He also intends to build three large homes at some point in the future and perhaps pass them on to his children, he said.

Abutter Jill Napior explained to Mr. Bazzy and Mr. Cumming that whatever nitrogen loads are calculated for the development, future nitrogen impacts have thus far been left out of the equation. She said on Old Courthouse Road alone, 80 acres are available for development and when combined with whatever Huseby Meadows produces, will overburden the Tisbury Great Pond and other nearby bodies of water.

Mr. Cumming said nobody has seen the cutting-edge wood chip nitrogen system currently being beta-tested in Tisbury, something he believes may be a game-changer. “Using nitrogen as a planning tool is not going to work in five year’s time,” he said.

No plans have been filed for the project.