Lampost owner sues MVC

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The owner of 6 Circuit Ave. in Oak Bluffs has sued in an attempt to overturn a Martha's Vineyard Commission ruling. —MV TimesBrian Dow

Lampost building owner Adam Cummings has filed a lawsuit against the Martha’s Vineyard Commission following the May 5 denial by the MVC of a request to lift restrictions on short-term rentals.

Cummings’ proposal to reduce the number of workforce housing units at the 6 Circuit Ave. location from 10 to four was met with overwhelming opposition by the commission, and subsequent denial in a 15-0 vote with one abstention. 

The request came after Cummings was found to be profiting from using the units for short-term rentals through Airbnb, and was served with a compliance notice — a warning — for misuse of units in June 2021. After that, Cummings responded with the request to decrease the amount of units required for the workforce, in an attempt to remain in compliance. 

The initial proposal to convert three of the five floors of the building into workforce housing was approved by the commission in 2017. According to the language of the MVC’s decision, “units shall be rented to employees of local businesses either as permanent, year-round housing or temporary housing as needed.”

Earlier this year, through former legal rep Jonathan Holter, Cummings sought to change the verbiage of the condition agreement with the MVC from 10 “as needed” workforce housing units to allotting “four units, with a total of nine bedrooms” to permanent or temporary workforce housing, which would have been a 60 percent reduction.

The complaint, filed in Dukes County Superior Court on Sept. 9 by attorney Thomas D. Orr, on behalf of Cummings, who is operating as Windsor Circuit Ltd., argues that “the MVC’s conduct has directly and proximately caused the plaintiff to sustain damages” in addition to violating Massachusetts general law by depriving Cummings of his constitutional right to “exercise and enjoy certain rights, privileges, and immunities to own and develop property free from threats, intimidation, and coercion.” 

The court document states “there exists an actual controversy between plaintiff and the MVC regarding the significance of the term ‘as needed’ regarding ‘workforce housing’ at [6 Circuit Ave.],” and argues for the annulment of the denial, and the approval of the housing modification stating “four units with a total of nine bedrooms shall be rented to employees of local businesses either as permanent year-round housing or temporary housing … the rental workforce housing shall be for members of the seasonal or year-round workforce.”

8 COMMENTS

  1. Workforce housing is a great idea, a good way to in this case get what he wanted it seems , but then greed entered the picture and with lack of follow up
    He was able to “ beat the system” for a while. I do find it different that instead of following the original contract he “ Sues “ the people that he lied to
    In order to get the plan approved. Unbelievable. Stand tough M V C

  2. Adam join the crowd in the courthouse fighting the MVC. I would love to see what the legal fees are adding up to for the current commission. Does someone know what those numbers are? The current group of commissioners may be right in this fight but their opinions have been wrong which Have lead to multiple lawsuits. Term limits are not something we just need in Washington we need term limits here on the island and time for people to step down. Not just on the MVC you can add selectmen, zoning board, and all the other boards that are being run by the same dinosaurs every year. If you make it known well in advance you are not running others will come forward thank you for your service but now find another hobby.

  3. Please stand strong MVC. You were lied to. You called a business owner. You did you job. Mr. Cummings should withdraw the lawsuit and abide by his word.

  4. Which would Adam rather have? More employees or more money? I think we know the answer to that. Funny that it’s the MVC”s fault when he also agreed to the terms.

    • Nothing about the MVC being taken to court 3 times this past year? Seems like there might be some media bias in this reporting. In any case, this sounds like a case of a public commission, used to bullying property owners, running up against someone who punches back.

  5. As someone who does not have year round housing, i would say good for him if he chose to stick with original agreement…. However, it IS his building, and just because it is on circuit ave, central to most jobs, he is almost being forced into an agreement he wants to change his mind about; whether people think it is wrong or not, we all have constitutional rights, fairly so. I stand with the owner of the building!! People try to force other to live a certain way despite their desire to live how they want, for the good of others…. But its a PRIME spot for air BNB …. Who WOULDNT take the opportunity? I would sue too, its america. dont tell people how to live. If i made a decision based on a property, i should be aloud to change my mind because its MY LIFE. And i feel bad for this man because its NOT HIS FAULT that there is a housing crisis on mv. I lived in my car all summer because i cannot force all of the people on mv with empty houses to rent to me; there are plenty of people who air bnb their houses, and the commission is manipulative to the point that he Probably HAD to lie just to be aloud to make any type of housing in that building. I feel sorry for him, as should everyone else shame on everyone. There are solutions to our housing problems, and the economy and gentrification have a lot to do with it. He is not the solution to hundreds of homeless people. Most people get unemployment these days and stop working anyways. Cut him ja break, so messed up.

  6. Why does he have to be the one set aside rooms for workforce housing to the “approval”of the MVC? I don’t see them doing that for all other projects (the few projects they actually approve that is)

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