The Martha’s Vineyard Commission is currently considering an application for 10 residential units, 20 bedrooms total, at the Four Flags development at Edgartown’s Triangle. Those 20 bedrooms could house 40 to 80 potential residents, if the sewer connection were to be approved and double beds or bunks installed in each of the bedrooms. The Edgartown planning board has simply asked the MVC to rubber stamp this application and remand it to the town.
As a resident of Edgartown for 40 years, former EMT and town board member, I am deeply concerned. Of course we need more reasonable, year-round rental housing on the Vineyard; I did the Vineyard shuffle myself for many years. But Edgartown Lofts is not a proposal for affordable housing. It is a proposal for one developer to make more money on his investment in an already-complicated and dangerous location.
The current architectural plans call for exterior stairways that appear to exit residents directly onto the Dark Woods Road along one of its property lines, and that would also require shaving back half of the evergreen growth/screening on another. The noise of the requisite condenser units and dumpsters (as well as the garbage trucks to empty same) would clearly have a detrimental effect on the entire area. But of most concern to me are the planned pop-out windows (legal or not) for the second-floor units, in case of emergency.
What will happen when 20 to 80 people move in upstairs? We all know that there is not enough parking there now. Fourteen additional spaces obviously won’t suffice. It is a private lot, so the town cannot police the number of tenants or business customers using the spaces. Our ambulances and fire trucks already encounter challenges negotiating that lot and that intersection. Why would we choose to invite more congestion, more confusion and more risk for residents, visitors and their children alike?
The Triangle in Edgartown is clearly a failed intersection, with a history of pedestrian, bicycle and vehicular accidents, both inside and outside of that particular lot — accidents which are not always reported to the Mass DOT — and which are therefore not able to be considered by the MVC in its transportation review. The requisite construction process alone will create chaos in that fragile location. And what will happen, should the owners of the other two neighboring buildings at Four Flags decide to build apartments/condos above their own first floor units?
Apart from the obvious safety factors, I have little confidence, unfortunately, that there is a way to enforce compliance with any potential MVC recommendations affecting this project. The Edgartown planning board, historically and currently, deems itself worthy of the ultimate authority. And in that board’s judgment, the proposed plan should be approved by the commission and returned to the town.
I urge every Islander with a conscience to please write to the MVC to voice your concerns.