Responding to MVC on ‘Aidylberg III’


To the Editor: 

The Island Elderly Housing (IEH) board of directors offers this memo in response to the articles published in the Vineyard Gazette and Martha’s Vineyard Times, along with comments made in the May 5 Zoom meeting of the Martha’s Vineyard Commission, regarding the proposed five-unit elderly housing building to be located at 38 Wing Road in Oak Bluffs. We would like to clarify some issues that were presented in these communications.

At the request of the MVC, several major revisions have been made to the proposal. These include the drainage plan, parking plan, lighting plan, and relocation of the septic wastewater plan.

The issues of concern are:

  1. The “L” shape layout of the building was subjectively described as “looking like a shopping mall” in design. Members of the MVC wanted to have the building redesigned.
  • The shape of the building lot and zoning requirements did not permit a long, straight building, like other IEH buildings in the community. 
  • The design of the building, with its drive-up vehicle accommodation, was made for elderly, mobility-challenged residents who may require wheelchairs or walkers.
  • The design of the building is in accordance with the standards of Massachusetts State Building Code 780 CMR and Massachusetts Architectural Access Board.
  • It was mentioned that the cost of a new design would be a limited expense. It was suggested that design cost would be 7 to 12 percent of the construction cost. A calculation of this cost at a low $400 per square foot construction cost would be over $190,000. IEH believes such an added expense would be imprudent based upon the design expenses incurred to date.
  1. The building roof line was too tall.
  • The building attics contain the mechanical systems for the living units and light shafts to provide daylight to the hallways in the building.
  • The building heights were within the range of other buildings on Wing Road.
  1. There was a question regarding the accuracy of the land survey for the lot.
  • The survey was conducted by a fully accredited survey firm. Their survey is on record, and can be reviewed by interested parties.
  1. IEH did not obtain the approval of the MVC prior to demolishing the house on 38 Wing Road, the proposed building site.
  • IEH applied for and obtained a permit from the town of Oak Bluffs to demolish the existing house that was gifted to them by the late Marguerite Bergstrom on 38 Wing Road.
  • IEH proceeded with the Oak Bluffs demolition permit and razed the house that was on the lot.
  1. The plans were not provided for review by the towns of Martha’s Vineyard. 
  • The conceptual plans were brought to the Martha’s Vineyard Commission, Island affordable housing committees, and Community Preservation committees in 2018 and again in 2021 at duly noticed meetings under Massachusetts General Laws. The CPCs voted to bring the Aidylberg III request for funding to the voters at town meetings. These requests were approved by voters.

We, the board members of IEH, have capably managed and maintained 165 units of elderly housing for 40 years. We hope that this letter provides clarity to those reviewing our proposal.

Simone DeSorcy
On behalf of the board of Island Elderly Housing
DeSorcy is the president of the board.  –Ed.