The owners of the Wave Lengths salon said they will go back to the drawing board after the Edgartown planning board made it clear this week they were unlikely to approve a plan to tear down the Upper Main street building and replace it with two large buildings on the property. At a public hearing on Tuesday night that saw heated argument among planning board members, the board said the new plan fails to meet town zoning requirements for parking in the Upper Main street business district.
Owners Jayne Steide and Melissa Montesion received approval from the Martha’s Vineyard Commission in November to raze the existing salon and replace it with a three-story 4,198-square-foot, mixed-use building and a new three-story, 5,381-square-foot building with three two-bedroom apartments in the back of the property. The planning board referred the project as a development of regional impact to the MVC in January 2010.
At issue now is interpretation of the wording in the zoning bylaw, which has rules about density as it relates to parking requirements. The bylaw states that buildings in the B-II district may occupy 80 per cent of the lot size if they have shared parking with abutters; otherwise a building may only occupy 50 per cent of the lot size. The Wave Lengths’ plan approved by the commission would occupy more than 50 per cent of the lot. Ms. Steide and project manager Colin Young said yesterday they had assumed the project was considered to be one structure under the current bylaw wording, but the planning board has a different interpretation.
On Tuesday night Mr. Young said Clarion hotel owner James Carter had given a verbal agreement to share parking but could not commit to a written agreement due to liability issues. Planning board chairman Alan Wilson said only a written agreement would be acceptable.
“I want to have something in the file, otherwise I thought you were going to come forth with a new plan,” Mr. Wilson said. “A scaled-down plan . . . might be amenable to the board. That’s kind of a hint to you.”
But board member Fred Mascolo had another view.
“I want more business on Upper Main street, I think it’s a good thing,” said Mr. Mascolo who owns Trader Fred’s in the Triangle business complex. “I have no gain or loss with whatever they’re doing. The only gain is to improve Upper Main street. If we’re changing that bylaw because wording is wrong . . .”
“It is wrong,” Mr. Wilson said.
Yesterday Mr. Young said he and the salon owner were surprised at the turn of events after their exhaustive review in front of the commission and an ultimate approval. “We went to the commission and came back to the planning board for routine approval and at that point, after two years they decided the wording in the bylaw was wrong,” he said.
Nevertheless, the owners said they now plan to scale down the size of the building in order to satisfy the zoning bylaw requirement. “We’re reworking it to be in the 50 per cent range,” he said. “This is the B-II district, this is where it’s [high-density commercial business] is supposed to go. We’ve bent over backward to meet the town’s requirements.”
Ms. Steide and Mr. Young said they will present a new plan to the planning board on Feb. 15, at which point they may need to return to the MVC to see if a second review is required there as well.
Despite the setback, Ms. Steide said she will not give up. “I’m more determined than ever,” she said.