Lagoon Ridge remains in permitting purgatory

Planning board punts to consider conditions for another week.

What will the Oak Bluffs planning board decide on Lagoon Ridge, which is planned for Double Ox Road? Tune in next week. - Gabrielle Mannino

It appeared the five-year permitting odyssey for Lagoon Ridge would finally come to an end as the Oak Bluffs planning board went into final deliberations at its regular meeting on Thursday night.

But after deliberating for an hour and a half, the board decided it needed another week to decide. The board unanimously voted 5-0 to allow a subcommittee to draft three conditions for the special permit before taking a final vote next Thursday, Feb. 22.

A condition will be drafted on structural assurances — a guarantee the six senior housing and three affordable housing units will remain as such in perpetuity.

The board also will better define the buildout schedule, which will include incentives to build the affordable housing and senior housing first.  As an example, planning board member Brian Packish suggested releasing the permits for the 55-plus housing and affordable housing immediately, along with six market rate permits, and releasing the remaining 10 permits over five years. The completion of the affordable housing, and 55-plus units could accelerate the release of the final 10 permits.

The third condition will address the buffer zone. Board member Mark Crossland pointed out several locations where the buffer between Lagoon Ridge and abutting properties was less than the required 50 feet by half.

There was considerable debate as to whether the open space requirement had been met. Under the flexible development bylaw, 40 percent of the site must be considered deed-restricted open space; chairman Ewell Hopkins said in some cases, developer Davio Danielson had incorrectly included yards and setback areas in his open space calculations and that, according to his calculations, there was 35 percent open space. Last week, Michael Goldsmith, counsel for the town of Oak Bluffs, stated repeatedly in an email to Hopkins that the board has broad discretion on the open space issue.

The board voted 3-2, that the open space criteria had been met, with Hopkins and Mark Crossland dissenting.

“My number one preference is that there are no houses on this land, but that’s not on the table,” Packish said. “Davio has gone much further than most people who sit on the other side of the table from us.”

Lagoon Ridge, a proposed 23-lot subdivision off Barnes Road, is the first subdivision proposed under the flexible zoning bylaw.

The Martha’s Vineyard Commission approved the project in 2016, with exacting conditions on wastewater treatment, including stringent measurement criteria and a bond that would ensure emergency repairs to the water treatment system.

The yield plan for Lagoon Ridge, which determines how many units could be built under standard zoning, was accepted by the Oak Bluffs planning board on Jan. 25.