It’s hard to imagine anyone who cares more about Tisbury than planning board co-chairman Henry Stephenson. He thinks deeply about the town and he has a nuanced and practical sense of design. His Stop & Shop letter several weeks ago was right on the mark, in my view.
No hyperbole, no careless inaccuracies — quite simply, the most cogent and thoughtful alternative plan to date.
I hope the Martha’s Vineyard Commission will heed his specific suggestions about decreasing building size, increasing setbacks, re-designing the municipal parking lot, Water street congestion, Union street traffic flow and added transportation services. I hope the MVC will condition the project in the realistic ways he suggests.
I also want to call attention to something that has been sadly absent from the Stop & Shop discussion. The Martha’s Vineyard Commission has a responsibility to promote appropriate economic development. I hope the MVC will add to its conditions — if and when it approves a better, scaled-down version of the plan that is before it — that Stop & Shop will be required to provide full-time jobs with full benefits at living wages.
We need good jobs. Part-time jobs at low wages are harmful and unprincipled. Stop & Shop and its parent, Ahold, can afford decency. It is within the powers of the MVC to require such decency. And we cannot afford to accept less.