Edgartown appoints Ted Rosbeck to MVC

Rosbeck chosen over longtime appointee James Joyce.

Edgartown selectmen appointed Ted Rosbeck to the MVC for a one-year appointment. Rosbeck was chosen in favor of long-time appointee James Joyce.

In a surprising move, the Edgartown board of selectmen unanimously appointed Ted Rosbeck to the Martha’s Vineyard Commission Monday evening. 

Selectmen chose Rosbeck, owner of Island Pools and Spas, over longtime Edgartown representative and Carroll & Vincent Real Estate owner James Joyce, who has served on the commission since 2010. Both Rosbeck and Joyce sent letters to selectmen seeking their appointment to the Island planning agency.

Selectman Michael Donaroma made the motion to appoint Rosbeck, adding that his founding membership in the Martha’s Vineyard Builders Association (MVBA) and his interest in the town made him a good fit.

The MVBA represents builders, tradespeople, and contractors on the Island. In October, the group voiced opposition to proposed changes to the commission’s development of regional impact (DRI) checklist that would allow the commission more purview over Island development. 

“He has shown a lot of interest in the town bylaws through the planning board, and a lot of interest in the MVC with what’s going on up there,” Donaroma said. “I think he would be helpful for the town of Edgartown.”

Selectman Margaret Serpa also welcomed the change in representation. She said Joyce has served the town well, but someone with new talents would be good for the commission.

Selectman Arthur Smadbeck also thanked Joyce, who did not attend the meeting, for his service to the town. “It’s not often we get other people interested in some of these appointments,” Smadbeck said. “It’s probably good to have somebody new with some builder’s experience, and Ted’s certainly been a wonderful contributing member to our community, and very helpful in many other ways.”

Speaking to The Times by phone Tuesday, Joyce said 10 years goes by quick. “New voices are good. I think Ted will do a good job,” Joyce said. “Edgartown is my home, and I’m not going anywhere. I’m still going to be following and be involved in the Island.”

Rosbeck’s appointment is for one year. Donaroma encouraged both Joyce and Rosbeck to put their names in the hat for the appointment when it comes up next year.

The commission is made up of 21 commissioners — six appointed on an annual basis by each town’s selectmen, one appointed on an annual basis by the Dukes County Commission, nine elected in Island-wide elections every two years, and five appointed by the governor, only one of whom has the power to vote on DRIs and districts of critical planning concern (DCPCs).

Speaking to The Times by phone Monday night, Rosbeck said he’s always been interested in the regulatory process on the Island. “I’ve even spent a lot of time with [Joyce], and he’s done a great job with the town, and I just have a lot of interest in being involved,” Rosbeck said.

While not a builder directly, Rosbeck said between himself, his brother, and his father, he has a good background on development and construction on the Island, both large and small: “To be able to help bring that perspective, I think it’s helpful to have all kinds of different views on the commission … especially as we get into the DRI checklist. I have a lot of experience doing that.”

Rosbeck’s appointment is the latest in a series of shakeups at the commission. In November, Island voters elected newcomers Jeff Agnoli of Edgartown and Jay Grossman of Chilmark, replacing former elected members Richard Toole of Oak Bluffs and Rob Doyle of Chilmark, both of whom did not run for reelection. 

In Oak Bluffs, selectmen also made a surprise switch by sidelining longtime member and selectmen Gail Barmakian, and appointing selectman Brian Packish.

In Tisbury, commissioners Josh Goldstein and Ben Robinson switched positions, with Robinson becoming one of Tisbury’s elected members, and Goldstein becoming the select board’s appointee.

In other business, selectmen approved a new three-year contract for Fire Chief Alex Schaeffer. Schaeffer’s salary during the contract will be $156,516, a 4.3 percent increase from his former $150,000 salary.

“He’s done an excellent job,” town administrator James Hagerty said of Schaeffer. “He’s hands down the best fire chief on the Island.”

Selectmen allowed the Newes From America Pub to close for four months, from Jan. 5 to April 1. In a letter, Kelley House manager Evan Bailey wrote that the pandemic caused the “difficult” decision to temporarily close the longtime year-round establishment.

“The decision is in direct response to the impact the global pandemic has taken on our industry. In addition to the pandemic and reductions in business levels, the recent mandate by Gov. Charlie Baker reducing in-dining to 25 percent makes it impossible to cover our operating expenses,” Bailey wrote.

Selectmen also approved a temporary parking easement for the Harborside Hotel, and a purchase and sale agreement with Kathryn Kennedy for 28 Jason Drive, which will be restricted to affordable housing. The purchase price of the Jason Drive lot was $470,000.

  • That is a nice little pay jump for the fire chief in a time of low inflation. When do these automatic pay increases stop and at what point are you paying too much? All of these big salaries compare themselves to other people with the same position and it’s a never ending escalation of pay. The bigger issue is the pensions that are paid out when these people retire. Time to end government pensions they are the last group in the country to be doing it. Government needs to switch over to 401K retirement plans for their employees and end the madness of guaranteed pension and health insurance.

  • I have deep misgivings about the ramifications of appointing a long time land developer to the MVC for Edgartown. We have lived on the Vineyard for the last 26 years and have watched the ongoing struggle of concerned Islanders to curb overdevelopment and maintain the character of the Island. In the face of a rapidly burgeoning Island population, a subject which has engendered vociferous and heated debate, it begs the legitimate question: can a developer who “is a big part of the Builders Association on the Vineyard” (as noted by Mr. Donorama) provide unbiased evaluation of controversial projects such as the recent Meetinghouse Way development? Frankly, I must say that I have grave and, I feel legitimate, concerns about the possibility of undue influence from an entity as large as the Builders’ Association.
    I would respectfully submit that the Island is rapidly approaching a crisis point in population growth and its sequelae that are sorely straining its resources. It is imperative that our Commissioners provide a balanced approach in weighing new development vs maintaining the Vineyard’s character and its ecosystems. I would hope that our new Commissioner will not give the latter short shrift and will prove my deep concerns to be unfounded.

    WD Lawrence MD

    • You should educate yourself on the enabling legislation of the MVC which incorporates preservation of our historical characteristics while promoting economic development. The trades are our largest employers, seconded by the hospitality business. Your business is certainly important but we went hundreds of years without a hospital here, not so much without home builders!

      • For a couple of hundred years those ‘builders’ on the island wore many caps. The primary one was farmer. Development, such as what goes on today, especially in Edgartown and around the island was NOT the mainstay of the Island. At most ibuilding was a community affair.
        The mid 1800’s awoke prospects of large profits in development in order to meet the questionable needs of the burgeoning religious and middle class looking for seaside resorts.
        Today we are burdened from the 19th century issues which have compounded exponentially through today, in pollution of our ground water and air, harbor usage, over burdened with vehicle summer traffic, backyard pools, nitrogen overloads, shall I go on?
        Let’s not forget the historic Mill House fiasco in VH. There are a few fingers in that pot not exclusively the builders, but definately can be read as the mind of a developer.

  • Kudos for appointing Ted Rosbeck to the MVC. I have known Ted and have been a customer for many years. His integrity and deep connection to the Island makes him a great addition.

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