Islanders want the new Stop and Shop to be better in every way but do they understand that it will also be twice the size of the current store. The proposed plan will visually and psychologically dominate the Steamship Authority’s gateway to the Island and Tisbury itself. This bigger store is too big for the area and sets a precedence of accepting other off-Island developers to come set up shop. May 1 at 6 p.m. at the Tisbury Senior Center is the Martha’s Vineyard Commission’s last public hearing where the public is allowed to speak their mind and remind the commission of their legally binding statement of purpose.
According to the commission’s enabling legislation:
“Martha’s Vineyard possesses unique natural, historical, ecological, scientific, cultural and other values . . . These values are being threatened and may be irreversibly damaged by uncoordinated or inappropriate uses of the land.”
The commission should deny the current proposal and wait for Stop and Shop to submit a smaller version of their plan that doesn’t set a precedent for other developers to come in and set up shop.
Stop and Shop’s current plan shows a distinct lack of caring responsibility for the increased traffic on Water street up and down Beach Road backing up to Main street and beyond, creating a virtual trap at Five Corners. Likewise, the VTA’s schedule will be thrown off getting in and out of the ferry pickup area.
The town parking lot will be over run by Stop and Shop shoppers and trucks in spite of the extra 41 spaces in the underground lot, the Vineyard’s first. Also the Main street businesses may suffer from this takeover of the lot and upstaged by the store’s increased inventory.
Most important is to recognize the out of scale visual and spatial dominance the complex will have on everyone coming and going on the boat. Do we want it to look like a box store in the endless chain of suburban shopping centers? Do we want our Island signature to be a Stop and Shop branding Water street as theirs, merging and exploiting the Island identity with their off-Island personality? We must realize that corporate America wants our Island too.
Come to the May 1 public hearing and speak your mind. Encourage the commission to deny the current expansion plan. Stop and Shop must design and build a store that fits our Island.
Let’s wake up before it is too late and we have to live with what’s there. Come to this meeting on May 1 along with the many others who will be there alerting the commissioners that they, and the Tisbury selectmen, will be blamed if they accept the current expansion plan.