Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

The Oak Bluffs water district would like to take this opportunity to express our thanks to all those departments and individuals who assisted us with the recent Department of Environmental Protection imposed boil-water order and especially the Oak Bluffs selectmen, town administrator Michael Dutton, emergency management coordinator Peter Martell, board of health chairman Shirley Fauteux, Oak Bluffs police and fire departments, and many more.

We have learned a great deal from this situation and more specifically we now realize that the water district as well as other departments in Oak Bluffs do not have the ability to contact their customer base at large whether it be water, sewer, school families, seniors or other groups.

The commissioners and staff are committed to working with the town to ensure that in the very near future, all departments of Oak Bluffs will be able to utilize the reverse 911 calling system for notification of any incident that may need citizen awareness.

And most importantly, a sincere thank you to all the Oak Bluffs water district customers for having to cope with this situation.

Michael deBettencourt,

Thomas Degnan, Kevin Johnson,

Raymond Moreis Jr.

Oak Bluffs

Sad to See It Go

Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Having followed the work of Bridge Housing from its outset, I was saddened to learn that its seven-year effort has ended.

In 2002 when the group was formed, I was a member of the Tisbury finance and advisory committee. I wanted to know more about their project to create affordable housing and how it would affect the town’s finances. To learn more about the project, I talked to Bridge Housing members, attended Tisbury planning board meetings and later appeared before the Martha's Vineyard Commission.

At the MVC meeting, I said that I did not know too much about Bridge Housing’s house- building skills, but in knowing some of their members, I could attest to their character. I mentioned what J.P. Morgan, the great financier, had once said, on being asked what he looked for when lending money. Morgan answered that he looked for two things — could the borrower pay him back and what was the character of the borrower. If the character was good, he would be paid back. Character was very important to J.P. Morgan. I concluded by stressing the sound character of the members of Bridge Housing.

In spite of all its hard work over a number of years, Bridge Housing finds it must sadly end its efforts to create affordable housing on its 14.8 acres off State Road in Vineyard Haven. As Dale Julier, in her letter to the editor to the Martha’s Vineyard Times on Oct. 1 so aptly states,"It is a beautiful piece of land and really great place for a project like this that is convenient to both West Tisbury andTisbury."

I hope someone comes forward to save the property for affordable housing. If the Island Housing Trust or the Island Affordable Fund can use their influence to save this property from foreclosure, then perhaps some developer could come forward and build affordable housing here for Vineyard families.

The tide has now gone out for Bridge Housing, but let’s hope that the tide will return shortly and someone will fulfill the goals of Bridge Housing.

Mev Good

Vineyard Haven


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

Martha’s Vineyard is a Garden of Eden, and it could be a model of sustainable living, a place where humans live in cooperation with nature.

Instead of having to choose between the good of the planet (wind energy) and the good of the Vineyard (protection of our shores) this could be an opportunity to work for both.

The MVC should create a district of critical planning concern (DCPC) for sustainable energy (more than just wind turbines) encompassing all Vineyard waters and land, one that would be comprehensive enough to deal with the environment as a whole and a model of sustainable living. This would include the increased use of renewable energy, but would also include the decreased use of carbon-based energy, and conservation of energy use as a whole.

The Oceans Management Act is not comprehensive; it deals with industrial-sized wind turbines, not the environment as a whole. In fact these turbines could be the money-making engine that drives the change to sustainability. A sizeable percentage of the income from the turbines could go to a fund that subsidizes a wide range of energy and conservation initiatives here on the Island and, later on, the region and the state — retrofitting homes to make them more affordable and energy efficient, supporting new transit alternatives and building a smart grid. But also taking steps to protect our ponds, restore wetlands, reclaim despoiled lands and preserve sensitive habitat.

This new DCPC could be a showcase for Massachusetts. The state is developing a number of statewide environmental policies under several different acts to deal with climate change (such as the Green Communities Act and a new building code). The Vineyard could be the place to integrate these new laws under the direction of the MVC. This is exactly what the commission was created for, to protect the natural beauty of the Island. But we could also be an example of a way of life that would protect the natural beauty of the entire earth. The state and Vineyard should work together.

Implementing the energy goals outlined in the Island Plan would be a start. The Island Plan is a comprehensive regional plan initiated by the MVC with a strong focus on energy use and sustainability. It is just now being finalized and will be a useful guide to the direction we should take. Energy use can be controlled and influenced by zoning regulations, building codes, transportation changes. A sustainable environment also involves improvement of the treatment of our ponds and drinking water. The resources brought in by large wind turbines could be used to finance many of the projects outlined in the Island Plan.

If the Vineyard is to bear the brunt of the new industrial wind energy it should also be a showcase for the new way of life to go with it. Tourists will see the new wind turbines and in the process they should also see what good can come from them.

Certainly we will not solve either our energy problems or the larger issue of global warming and environmental degradation unless we bring all these concerns together into an integrated policy. Constructing new energy supplies, however renewable they may be, without a corresponding conservation program and a sensitive appreciation for the land, wildlife and scenery of this Island, is likely to do much more harm than good by pumping new energy into a wasteful system and throwing good money after bad.

The commission’s comments on the Oceans Management Plan are excellent and cover most of our concerns: conservation, mitigation, scenic values and the great variety of local concerns and values. We need to work with the state to improve and expand the objectives of the Oceans Act so that it covers these concerns. We should create a district of critical planning concern for sustainable energy use and not just for regulating the location of wind turbines.

Holly Stephenson

Vineyard Haven


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

The following was sent to the legislative Committee on Community Development and Small Business on Beacon Hill:

I write to respectfully ask you to report favorably on SB 90, An Act to Sustain Community Preservation, which strengthens the Community Preservation Act.

The Island Housing Trust is a nonprofit affordable housing developer serving the six Island towns of Martha’s Vineyard. Since the six Island towns passed CPA three years ago, approximately $1.7 million of CPA funds have been invested in affordable housing projects developed by our organization. This amounts to an average of $78,000 in CPA funds invested per housing unit. These CPA funds have helped leverage approximately $5.5 million in private and public investments, as well as $11 million in bank financing. This amounts to over $16 million invested in nearly 60 units of affordable housing, created in part with CPA funds, that has or will circulate directly back into the Island’s economy through local contractors, subcontractors and material suppliers. CPA funds have been an enormous help in jump-starting affordable housing projects during these difficult economic times. In addition, CPA investments in permanently affordable housing are retained and reinvested with each new generation of Island home buyers. In these ways, CPA funds have proven to be a sound investment in helping sustain the Island’s year-round community and economy.

But the ability of the Island towns of Edgartown, Oak Bluffs, Tisbury, West Tisbury, Chilmark and Aquinnah to fund important CPA projects is threatened by the steep decline in funding from the statewide CPA Trust Fund. SB 90 will make sure that our trust fund distribution will never go below 75 per cent of what we raise locally, ensuring that our community can continue to preserve historic resources, protect open space, build community housing and expand recreational opportunities.

Please report favorably on SB 90 and help preserve all six towns on the Island of Martha’s Vineyard and all of Massachusetts for generations to come.

Philippe Jordi

West Tisbury

Philippe Jordi is executive director of the Island Housing Trust.


Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

The Vineyard Conservation Society would like to thank the individuals and businesses participating in this year’s campaign to collect and recycle the plastic shrink wrap used to cover boats.

The campaign succeeded in collecting more than one ton of shrink wrap and transporting it to an off-Island recycling facility. This recycling initiative is part of the Vineyard Conservation Society’s effort to promote sustainable practices including conservation of land, energy and materials.

We look forward to doing it again next spring bigger and better!

Tomar Waldman

and Joanie Ames

Vineyard Haven

and West Tisbury