Editors, Vineyard Gazette:
It seems like the Schifter project on Chappy is making its way to the pages of newspapers both on and off-Island. And yet in this epic battle of man versus nature, it is unclear who will end up the winner. Nature seemed to stage a strong first offensive, but by some armoring and then a historic move, it now appears nature has, at least temporarily, been evicted from the property. Maybe there isn’t a real winner.
Now the question should be how does a project like this get approved in an area protected by multiple layers of regulations (R-120 zoning, shore zone, Cape Pogue DCPC, state habitat protections) and end up looking like an industrial zone? Have our tools for evaluating and regulating land development become so antiquated and ineffective? Don’t get me wrong, I am not an advocate of lots of regulations. No, I am an advocate for smart regulations that protect the interests of homeowners, the town and the environment in a way that is fair, involves common sense and doesn’t become a bunch of words that can be twisted to permit something far from the intent of the law.
How many times have we had projects highlighted in the media and we ask, how did that happen? If this is one of them, then maybe it is time to contact your local planning board, conservation commission or selectmen and let them know about your concern. Attending hearings and giving input is extremely important for these decision makers to know how people really feel. Don’t underestimate the power of public comment. If these types of projects don’t bother you, then sit back and enjoy the view because you will probably see a lot more of them in the future.
Woody Filley, Edgartown