A new pier in Vineyard Haven?

Select board and harbormaster voice no objections.


Tisbury’s select board had no qualms with a preliminary proposal from real estate broker and developer Robert Sawyer to erect a dock behind a house of his on Beach Street Extension. 

“I had a brief conversation with Mr. Sawyer this morning,” Tisbury harbormaster John Crocker said. “He sent me a very simple drawing. He’s looking at building a pier. It’s actually just south of the outfall pipe — where the outfall pipe comes out to drain Five Corners. He’s looking at building a pier five feet wide and 40 feet long.”

Select board chair Jeff Kristal said the first step in the evaluation process was to see if abutters have issues with the idea. The town and Boch Park appeared to be the abutters, based on what Kristal described. “He’s pretty much ascertaining if the town would have an issue with this,” Kristal said.

Sawyer, who didn’t speak at the select board meeting, later confirmed he sought Tisbury’s opinion. “We just wanted to know in advance that the town, as an abutter, is not going to pull the rug out from under us,” he told The Times.

“Do you see an issue with this, with him going forward with the permitting process?” Kristal asked. “Sounds like there might be a benefit.” 

“At this point, I think I would recommend that he be allowed to go forward with the permitting process, and see how it all shakes out,” Crocker said. 

Select board member Larry Gomez didn’t offer an opinion.

Select board member Roy Cutrer asked for clarification on where the dock would be situated. 

Crocker explained the dock would be in between the Black Dog dock and Gannon and the Benjamin Marine Railway dock.

“What are we being asked to do today?” Cutrer asked.

“Not much of anything,” Kristal said. “So basically, it’s coming to your neighbor and saying, ‘Hey, I’d like to do something, and I’m going to go for a permit. Do you have any objections before I even go for a permit?’ And I think if Mr. Sawyer heard some objection, he probably wouldn’t go for a permit, or he’d ask what our objections were, but he could also do that in a public hearing process. Because there’s going to be other permitting hurdles that he would need to overcome. So we’ll have a chance to review it even more, get written commentary from the harbormaster, and other individuals as well.”

“So this doesn’t require a vote today for any reason?” Cutrer asked. 

“Nope, not that I see,” Kristal said.

Town administrator Jay Grande said he had been working with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, the Martha’s Vineyard Commission, and the Environmental Protection Agency on drainage improvements in the same vicinity, and the issue of tight navigation quarters has come up. 

“It’s a very confined location, so there will be a lot of things to consider and balance,” Grande said. “We’ll see how it unfolds.” 

“So I think what Mr. Sawyer is hearing from us is to move forward with the permitting process, and I’m sure we’ll have this come back in front of us at some other time.” Kristal said.

In other business, the select board unanimously approved a common victualers license for La Choza. Kathryn and Robert Seaton, the new owners of the burrito shop, joined the Zoom meeting for a hearing on the transfer. 

“You’ll be continuing to operate La Choza exactly as it has run since 2013, but not really,” Kristal said. “Because I got in there the other day, ordered, and had some great burritos, so you’re not operating the same way because I was actually allowed in.”

Kristal and former La Choza owner Seth Gambino, a vocal critic of Kristal’s, previously vied for a select board seat. Gambino lost. 

Gomez said he patronized La Choza last week, and had a burrito he enjoyed.

Cutrer said he was there two weeks ago, and the place has the “seal of approval” from a “burrito lover.”

He also said the sale “gave Seth the ability to move on, and gave the town of Tisbury another business owner, so I think that it’s awesome.”


  1. Was Jeff Kristal actually not allowed into La Choza ?
    It seems like that is what he is claiming.
    I hate to think that businesses on this island discriminate based on political views .
    Is that even legal ?

    • Aside from race/gender/religion I am pretty sure a business can refuse service for pretty much any other reason.

  2. If Bob Sawyer does get the permit for the dock would he compete with La Choza for a burrito stand so Jeff Krystal could get his burritos? Definitely a conflict of interest. Will there be a liquor license, and will you need to order a burrito to get a Bud? ?

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