Sewer board approves additional flow for Dunn project

The sewer advisory board has approved more sewer flow for a project that includes that former Santander Bank building.

The Tisbury sewer advisory board held an unscheduled meeting Monday morning to redo a vote on sewer flow for a proposed development involving the property at 75 Main St., known as the former Santander Bank property.

Developer Sam Dunn requested an additional 330 gallons per day of flow, bringing the mixed-use project to a total of 2,310 gallons per day of sewer flow. Dunn has approved a mix of four commercial spaces with 11 residential apartments on the second floor of the buildings. The property stretches from Main Street all the way to Vineyard Haven Harbor.

The advisory board voted 4-1 with one abstention to recommend the additional flow. Board member John Best was the lone vote against the additional flow. Connie Alexander abstained, later telling The Times she did not vote because Dunn’s project is before the planning board.

Best objected to what he called “incremental” approval of additional flow. He said there is concern that the town is getting close to its limit on daily sewer flow, and some flow should be saved for affordable housing projects and other priorities. “I think it’s totally premature to grant flow for something that seems like a moving target,” he said.

Jeff Kristal, the select board’s representative on the advisory board, said it’s been past practice to grant flows ahead of permits being issued.

Best wasn’t alone in wanting more clarity on the sewer priorities. Board member Nancy Gilfoy said it would be helpful to have more information on what flow has been spoken for and what’s available. “I kind of feel like we’re making decisions fairly blindly,” she said. “I appreciate it’s a moving target, but I feel like we need more information.”

Kristal said the board should trust wastewater superintendent Jared Meader, whom he called “the guru in the room.” He said it would be the select board that would set priorities as sewer commissioners.

As the discussion of priorities continued after the vote with no other agenda items, Kristal made a motion to adjourn that was approved.

At the outset of Monday morning’s meeting, board chair Christina Colarusso explained that at a previous meeting, the sewer advisory committee approved the additional flow under the “superintendent’s report.” She said it should have been a separate agenda item.

Dunn was not present for the Monday morning meeting, something Kristal said should be rectified in the future. Dunn’s proposed development is before the Martha’s Vineyard Commission and the Tisbury planning board.


  1. I wish your reporting would include some objective data, like, after the removal of the groundwater being pumped by the Mansion House into the sewer plant, how much available flow does the Wastewater Department believe it has available? If they had 10000 gallons per day available without triggering any agreement with DEP, has that available number now jumped by the 15000 +/- gpd the Mansion House pulled out of the flow? What was max flow in 2020? 2019? Absolute max flow regardless of year? At what level of max flow has Tisbury agreed with DEP that it must started planning for an increase in plant capacity? At what max flow must Tisbury install an increase in plant capacity under that agreement? What increases in capacity to the present users are now being planned? Proposed? Any funded?


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