Call for Island-wide approach to zoning


To the Editor:

On April 9, I understand residents of Oak Bluff will have their annual town meeting, and this year that will include voting on what is affectionately known as the townwide Light Industrial Mixed-Use Overlay District (LIMOD).

I understand how demand for commercial services has grown tremendously in recent years. I also understand that this town overlay seeks to distribute the need for additional commercial property across the town of Oak Bluffs. While laudable in its premise, unfortunately, certain areas are being unequally burdened to accommodate this need. In particular, area one incorporates several parcels that are traversed by the rural and beautifully wooded William Norton Road in Tisbury. This area is quite unique in that the boundaries of the town of Oak Bluffs extend, as a pointed finger or triangle, over a portion of William Norton Road. However, the vast majority of William Norton Road is in Tisbury, and is characterized by the Martha’s Vineyard Commission as rural, and it is also an environmentally sensitive area over the Island’s sole-source aquifer.

My hope on April 9 is that the good residents of Oak Bluffs, if they have not seen this area, being unaware of the potential impacts that the change in residential zoning might have, that you would not approve area one in the LIMOD. This is not to say that some of the other designated LIMOD areas should also be more thoughtfully considered. However, I am certain that should commercial development proceed in area one, it would dramatically change and alter the character of our rural, residential neighborhood.

The issue of improving how commercial operations are managed and permitted in Oak Bluffs is not unique to Oak Bluffs. Given what I have seen with the intertown impacts of this proposal, and the Island-wide challenges of the growing commercial businesses on the Island, I respectfully implore all town officials to work together to come up with an Island-wide approach to this problem. Something that while difficult, would be more equitable for all.


Nicholas De Rose
Vineyard Haven