Legislators, petitioners ask SSA for a redo on terminal

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The SSA's terminal design is on Wednesday's agenda for an update from the general manager. - BIA studio

A petition linked on the Save Our Steamship Authority Facebook page objects to the proposed design and size of the proposed Woods Hole terminal.

Meanwhile, state Rep. Dylan Fernandes, D-Falmouth, and Sen. Vinny deMacedo, R-Plymouth, have asked the SSA to listen to community concerns. “We respectfully request that you reconsider the currently proposed design and work with the Woods Hole community to identify a terminal design that reflects community input and the unique character of the village,” the letter states.

At meetings last week, the new terminal received mixed reviews. At a Woods Hole meeting last Tuesday, residents blasted the design as out of character, and said its 37-foot height would block water views. But a day later, Vineyard residents weren’t as worked up about it.

“The new terminal building will obstruct traditional water views from Woods Hole village, occupies an inordinate amount of space in the middle of what will be a congested location, and uses too much glass,” the petition states. It is addressed to general manager Robert Davis, but is copied to state legislators.

The petition points to terminals on the Island and in Hyannis that are “modest and suitable architecture.”

Several photos on the site have a red line drawn in that purports to show how the views will be blocked based on the SSA designs and estimates of the building size and height.

Though the petition’s comment section is dominated by Woods Hole residents, it shows there is some opposition to the designs on Martha’s Vineyard. As of Monday afternoon, several Vineyarders were among the 57 people who had left comments on the petition.

“Please build a reasonable building,” A.W. of Chilmark wrote. “This current plan is terrible. Please redo it.”

Another commenter from the Island urged the SSA to respect the wishes of Woods Hole residents. “This proposed building does not reflect the feel of the surrounding communities,” B.G. of Edgartown wrote. “It will look out of place.”

And a West Tisbury resident called the building “unsustainable,” criticizing the lack of solar panels visible in the designs released.

In an email, Sean Driscoll, the SSA spokesman, wrote that he is aware of the petition, but hasn’t “taken a closer look to see how many people signed or what comments there may be. We are continuing to accept input on the terminal building plans, and will thoroughly review all comments we receive as we consider the design options.”

The lone comment on the SOSA Facebook page has a different point of view from those who signed the petition. “Can we have a petition for those that like our new SSA building?” Jeanne Francisco wrote.

Nathaniel Trumbull, a Woods Hole resident who has been critical of noise and traffic to and from the Woods Hole terminal, wrote that he is among a group of people who organized the petition drive.

We really appreciate the concern expressed by Vineyard residents over the proposed design of the new terminal building in Woods Hole village,” Trumbull wrote.

In their letter, Fernandes and deMacedo urge SSA officials to consult with the Woods Hole Community Association, the business community, and Falmouth Historical Commission to come up with a design that meets their needs and satisfies community concerns. “Woods Hole community members are open to working with the SSA to achieve a new passenger terminal that meets the SSA’s needs while respecting the community’s unique character and the wishes of its residents,” the letter states. “This building will define Woods Hole for millions of visitors for decades to come. It should look like Woods Hole. We strongly urge the authority to heed the clear public message it has received from the people of Woods Hole and reconsider the proposed design on this building.”

The SSA board is scheduled to appear on the Island Tuesday at 4 pm at the MVRHS Performing Arts Center for its monthly meeting.