Land Bank not paying its due


To the Editor:

I am the president of a road association in Chilmark that has not had the easiest time with the Land Bank for the past two years. One year ago they decided they did not have to pay their share of association dues, and sent in what they deemed “fair.” After a few emails and letters over the following months, they did pay their share. Then for the 2017-18 dues, they again refused to pay the bulk of their share, and have never answered requests to complete their payment. They are aware that the original contract they signed (long before I moved to this road) to create the road association stipulated that the agreement could be revised every five years, making the summer of 2018 the time that revision could happen. Instead they choose to act independently and do what they want.

In my frustration I filed a claim in Small Claims Court for the remaining amount due. I was informed by our lawyer that they’d like to mediate, and we should be happy to accept less at the table, which still has not come to pass, though the court date has been postponed until late summer.

In a recently released Peaked Reservation Management Plan (revised April 27, 2018), it stated “E. Land Administration Oversee and police Peaked Hill Reservation on a regular basis and develop good neighborhood relations. Objective 1: Maintain good relations with abutters and neighbors. Strategies: a. Establish contact and working relations with neighbors.” For the record, their Peaked Hill property has not had any substantial maintenance since last fall; after our spring storms, one sign along the road remains down, the grass has not been cut, nor trees removed from the trails. I am trying to understand how their behavior engenders good neighborly relations or makes for a working relationship for our road association.

Valerie Sonnenthal


  1. The Land Bank has more than enough money to pay whatever amount they owe you (small claims doesn’t equal huge $$$$$)
    They are just being cheap because they can, you should ask them how they can afford a fence at Trade Winds but they can’t pay you??

  2. Why am I not surprised. Sort of the reverse position from their cold shoulder approach to what us Island residents proposed with our Friends of Tradewinds group. Shame on them for shutting us out and shame on them for not paying their dues.

  3. “The grass has not been cut?” Wrong kind of grass; this is a preserve, not a city park. And when a tree falls in Nature, the deer and woodchuck don’t come at 5 am with chainsaws to clear it.

  4. Readers wishing to learn the land bank’s history on this matter are encouraged to go to the land bank website and read, under the heading IN THE NEWS, the minutes of the land bank’s discussions on this subject

  5. Although I see MV Land Bank has now posted minutes from their meetings regarding our road association, it does not change a binding legal contract they made that can be changed in 2018. Perhaps instead of acting independently they could have chosen to share what they have now posted online from their meetings or offered to participate more if they are so concerned about creating change and “good will.”

    • My recollection a big part of why the Land Bank was formed was to prevent over-use of the Island and by this keep the Vineyard’s appeal. Do residents now prefer suburbia? Once land is developed, human-nature seems to be never go back.

      • Does your recollection tell you what entitles the LB not to pay their bills, New Englander LB person?

        • Municipalities across America decline land gifts to become parks because parks are expensive to maintain and generate little or no income to help pay costs. Since the Land Bank saved properties from private development, it seems only fair to return them to the real estate market.

          I recall the goal of fence opponents was to let people have full access to Trade Winds with their dogs. Safe to guess you never supported the reason for the Land Bank. Enjoy your tourist trap.

      • Why should we want to “keep the Vineyard’s appeal” if we don’t want more use of it?

        • If there was never any appeal to living on the Vineyard, why live here when goods and services cost more and there’s an annual deluge of tourists?

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