It is my personal belief that there isn’t a resident or visitor to the Vineyard who arrives via the SSA to Vineyard Haven who lauds the view that greets them presently: a rundown house, a broken-down building and the existing Stop & Shop. It is my belief that we all would appreciate a better first view of our Island.
It is also my view that in reviewing the Stop & Shop proposals and listening to the hearings so far that Stop & Shop has reiterated its final corporate bottom line project plans without ever seriously considering the Vineyard’s bottom line of the Martha’s Vineyard Commission’s mission statement directive to “preserve the unique, historical, ecological, scientific, and cultural values from development and uses which impair them.”
With this in mind, what follows are my views as a lifelong visitor and 40-year resident and voter:
• It would seem, as concluded by the Stop & Shop lawyer at the end of the Nov. 5 public meeting, that we on the Vineyard would need to approve their presently sized 30,477-square-foot project. In answer to the question from the floor: “What if we don’t approve of it?” He responded, “I do not know specifically what Stop & Shop would do,” but added something to the effect that it is Stop & Shop’s bottom line and if not approved that Stop & Shop could leave the existing store as it is, or that possibly Stop & Shop would sell the property. In that scenario it appears as if no one wins!
• To me as a bystander and a stakeholder, this did not appear to lead to better relationships or possitive end results as this large project moves on to further consider parking and traffic during more hearings.
• While I realize that most Stop & Shop stores are even larger than the one proposed, it appears to me that most are located off major streets and are located in shopping centers with a lot of off-street parking.
• It seems that not only is the visual and actual size a problem, but the resultant parking and traffic are considerable issues not even addressed yet.
• While I understand that the American business model is often bigger is better, I think that even if the proposed size here does not match that of other off-Island stores, that neither are off-Island models appropriate or applicable to an Island site and size model.
• I also ask if the 11 miles between Edgartown Stop & Shop and the present Vineyard Haven store is consistent with the distances between Stop & Shop off-Island stores and what the population numbers are that Stop & Shop serves in similar 11-mile areas between stores. I would guess the off-Island numbers would be much higher than our possible high of 17,000 residents that shopped at one or the other store.
• It would seem reasonable to hope, if approved, that Stop & Shop could have a larger retail sales floor space with more pleasant shopping amenities than the current 6,409-square-foot retail space provides.
• I applaud the commission for their long hours of consideration and I understand the Stop & Shop need for more updated user-friendly grocery store floor space, however I sincerely hope a reasonable, safe, appropriate solution for all can be reached.