Developers of the proposed Meeting House Place are appealing the recent ruling of a superior court judge that upheld the Martha’s Vineyard Commission’s denial of the Edgartown housing development.
Utah-based developers Douglas K. Anderson and Richard G. Matthews, operating as Meeting House Way LLC, filed a notice of appeal through their attorneys in Dukes County Superior Court Monday.
This comes a few weeks after Judge Paul Wilson called for a dismissal of the developers’ complaint, which argued for the right to build roughly 30 homes on a 20-acre subdivision in Edgartown.
In their initial lawsuit, Meeting House Way LLC attorneys claimed that the Martha’s Vineyard Commission “exceeded its statutory authority,” and that the project’s rejection “was based on subjective opinions devised for the occasion, not uniformly applicable regulations.”
“The decision was unmoored from the facts, scientific evidence, and in several instances from the reports of its own staff,” developers argued.
The commission based its 2020 decision to deny the project largely on the development’s potential impact to Edgartown, citing that as presented, Meeting House Place would not align with the town’s character.
The commission and its legal representatives have also stated that the plans submitted to the regional agency lacked specificity about how the development would involve affordable housing.
In the court’s decision to support the MVC’s denial last month, Judge Wilson said he was “sympathetic” to the developers’ appeal, but noted “legal deficiencies” in the proposed project, and called it “unworkable for several reasons, both factual and legal.”
Meeting House Way LLC has since established a new legal team to take over the appeal process.
Attorney Daniel Dain, one of the newly hired legal representatives for Meeting House Way LLC, shared a statement with The Times Wednesday: “Over several years of hearings, Meeting House Way LLC developed an attractive, environmentally sensitive project to help meet the Vineyard’s acute housing needs. It changed the project many times to address Martha’s Vineyard Commission concerns. The final proposal included a substantial affordable housing component, and the commission decided that the affordable housing component favored approval.
“It nevertheless denied the project, later citing technical aspects of the affordable housing program that are resolvable. Meeting House Way respects the role that regional planning plays for the Vineyard, and prefers an amicable resolution that addresses the commission’s concerns while bringing a mix of additional housing to the community, and it will continue to work toward that goal. But if the commission cannot provide clear guidelines as to what warrants approval under the vague statutory language, then the hope is that the court through the appeal process will provide those guidelines.”