A third public hearing on expansion plans for the Vineyard Haven Stop & Shop store has been delayed until next month, as discussion continues both at the town level and before the Martha’s Vineyard Commission on the proposal to more than double the size of the Water street store.
A meeting with the commission’s land use planning committee scheduled for Monday was cancelled late last week.
Issues involving the municipal parking lot adjacent to the Water street store will be the subject of a public meeting with the Tisbury selectmen on Wednesday. The meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. in the Tisbury town hall (the location was originally the Tisbury senior center but has been changed to the town hall).
“So we’re not in limbo and we’re in agreement with the town," Stop & Shop attorney Geoghan Coogan said.
Stop & Shop wants to rebuild the 9,400-square-foot store into a 23,800-square-foot supermarket.
The plan is under review by the MVC as a development of regional impact (DRI). A public hearing opened in July.
The scale of the proposal and the supermarket’s location across from the Vineyard Haven Steamship Authority terminal has led to increased scrutiny of the plans from the commission and the public.
At two previous public hearings, discussion has centered on concerns about traffic, parking and aesthetics. As planned, the building would be two stories, with a 43-space parking garage on the first floor and the store on the second. Stop & Shop proposes to reorganize traffic circulation in the town-owned parking lot next to the store, and the plan also calls for the elimination of a town-owned comfort station near the store.
A continued public hearing was scheduled for this week, but Stop & Shop asked to postpone it in order to resolve issues regarding the parking lot.
Commission executive director Mark London gave Stop & Shop a seven-page document of questions and requests for further information earlier this month. Issues raised in the document and by residents include traffic management in the area, truck deliveries to the store, the size and design of the store, affordable housing, impact on local businesses and the use of public property for an entrance ramp.
Mr. Coogan said the first two public hearings have been geared toward listening. “And letting us hear everybody’s thoughts. We haven’t had the ability yet to respond to all of that,” he said.
At the next hearing, he said, Stop & Shop will have responses and some revisions to their plans, as well as a clear plan for the parking lot.
“Next time we present this, I think that we’re going to have answered a lot of questions,” Mr. Coogan said.
He said he hopes the public hearing will resume by the end of September. “It’s a huge project and we want to do it right,” he said.