Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

I am writing regarding the violation of building and zoning laws that seems to be becoming more prevalent in construction. Recently I received a letter regarding a hearing on a variance request for The Boulevard in Edgartown for a property that was built in violation of building and zoning laws. I am astounded there is even a hearing allowed. This property violates the zoning codes in many ways. It is in the coastal district and the maximum height allowed is 26 feet. The owners built a three-story building. The roof is a mansard and doesn’t meet the slope requirement. It is technically a flat roof, and the code maximum height for a flat roof is 13 feet. It also exceeds the maximum bedroom allowance and doesn’t have a proper septic system. This is an environmentally sensitive area a few hundred feet from the pond and construction should be given particular scrutiny.

How was the house allowed to be constructed in the first place? Aside from the fact that it is architecturally ugly and incompatible with the neighborhood, did this house receive a building permit, a septic permit or a certificate of occupancy? If it did, there should be an inquiry as to why construction was allowed when it so clearly violated the zoning. Why should the town and the taxpayers be paying money to retroactively give approval to a property that doesn’t meet the code requirements?

This process makes a mockery of the zoning laws. Either you have zoning laws that are enforced or anyone can build what they want. If you allow owners to build what they want, it sets a precedent. Anyone can look at this case and other houses that were built in violation of the codes, such as the Moujabber garage and think, “what is to prevent me from building what I want?” Clearly the town isn’t preventing it. If you have zoning laws, construction should follow the proper procedure and get the required approvals. There is no way this house could have been given approvals when it so blatantly violates the zoning and building laws. Zoning laws are for everyone, not just for reasonable people to follow and others to flout. You can’t retroactively give them variances for not obeying the laws.

If people build without following the laws, they should not be given certificates of occupancy, they should be given severe penalties such as tearing down the building or large fines. How can you expect to deter others from doing the same thing if there are no consequences? Why should the neighbors and the town be spending so much money to try to get people who violated the zoning to get variances after the fact? If there is any hope of maintaining the character and environment of the Vineyard, the town must put a stop to this egregious violation of laws. I strenuously object to the retroactive variance for properties that violate zoning and building laws and request the town to enforce its zoning laws.

Incidentally, regarding the recent court decision on the Moujabber property, it seemed to hinge on the impact on the views. This is completely irrelevant. It was built without a permit, and violated the zoning laws. There should be no question that the building should be torn down. 

Lisa Reindorf


and Newton


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

On August 6, at the end of the All Island Art Show, an 8-by-10-inch framed color photo of a tulip was left on one of the benches of the Tabernacle in Oak Bluffs.

The photographer and owner of the photo appreciates the compliment paid him by whoever considered that photo worthy to be taken home. And perhaps even hung. However, the tulip’s rightful home is with the photographer, who asks the present admirer to return it to Peter Dreyer, 94 Clevelandtown Road in Edgartown. Tips as to the whereabouts of the photo can be telephoned in to 508-627-9654.

Peter Dreyer



Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

This appeared on a card among Florence Kern’s Vineyard research papers. It is not in her writing, and below is a note: Early, An Island patchwork.


Here lies the body of Samuel Pease

With folded arms he went to ease

It is not Sam, but only his pod

Sam has shelled out and gone to God


Alison Kern Stitzer

Great Falls, Va.


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Please publish more on the importance of keeping Whipoorwill Farm as open farmland and how unique to the Island this property is. It has provided a rare opportunity for families to connect with fresh produce and to learn about the joy of harvesting directly from the land. In this day of emphasis on local farm-grown foods, Whipoorwill provides a wholesome opportunity. Its many members will look for ways to donate to its future.

Anne Bell Robb