Dover Amendment approach avoids transparency


To the Editor:

Last week, just a few weeks after submitting their permitting application, the MVRHS leadership attended the Oak Bluffs planning board meeting and, during the public comment part of the meeting, Assistant Superintendent Ritchie Smith read a passage from the Dover Amendment. Essentially, this amendment says that the law exempts agricultural, religious, and educational corporations from zoning restrictions. In other words, the MVRHS claimed that they intend to circumvent the standard municipal site-plan review process. It is our understanding that the Dover Amendment could be applied to the Martha’s Vineyard Commission as well.

We disagree with the MVRHS’ approach. This is not a path of transparency. Nor is it setting a good precedent.

We recognize and appreciate that, like us, everyone wants what is best for our Island and for our kids. But a divided community and no due process is not what is best for this Island or for our kids. To reach a solution we can all get behind, we hope that our education leadership demonstrate respect for the public review process, abide by municipal regulations, and model civil debate.

Mollie Doyle, Dardanella Slavin, and Rebekah Thomson
The Field Fund


  1. “To reach a solution we can all get behind”. From you, that is a bold statement. You have never supported this project when the school and users requested the use of a synthetic surface infield. Your group had your chance to do an all grass campus but you backed out during negotiations when you put a stipulation on the project that the school couldn’t legally commit to, being a public entity. One has to wonder, did you actually plan on following through with your commitment in the first place? Fast forward three years, the kids still don’t have anything and the track is at the end of its life. Now the school has a plan and you once again will do anything you can to get in the way because of one reason, you don’t like the fact that the school has done research, collected data, interviewed the users and listened to the community and decided to go with a synthetic infield. The school listened and has done everything they can to make sure the surface will be recyclable at it’s end of life, the infill is organic and the padding increases the safety of the infield. The school is also being transparent, they listed the Dover Amendment in their application for all to read. You want to get behind this project, help support the rest of the fields that are going to be grass. The school could use your help maintaining those fields. If you did that, the community would entirely be behind this project.

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