The Squibnocket Ridge subdivision is the result of over 10 years of study, planning, and design by the Vineyard Open Land Foundation. It was approved in 1992 after lengthy and thorough review by the Chilmark planning board and the Martha’s Vineyard Commission.
VOLF supports the efforts of the landowners at Squibnocket to construct a more suitable roadway for safe access to their properties by the homeowners and emergency vehicles, such as fire trucks or an ambulance.
VOLF also recognizes the need for the town of Chilmark to secure more beach access for its residents. If nothing is done at Squibnocket, the small leased beach will soon be of little use, if not a liability, to the town.
Discussion between the homeowners and a Chilmark committee gave rise to the idea of construction of the elevated roadway to satisfy the needs of homeowners for access and the concept of leasing an expanded area of beach to Chilmark. After review of the issues and as the present owner of the land to be used for a portion of the roadway and the beach, VOLF determined that the best solution for all parties was to sell the area of beach to the Squibnocket homeowners, who could then build their roadway and lease beach to Chilmark.
VOLF will continue to support the Squibnocket homeowners and the town of Chilmark in their respective efforts.
It is unfortunate that opposition from primarily a small group of abutters has hijacked the public discourse thus far with environmental concerns and impractical “alternatives” or “solutions” that mask what should be fairly seen as their personal objection to the potential intrusion of the redesigned roadway and the relocated beach parking area to their private viewshed. These opponents have done a disservice to the selectmen with unfounded charges that process has not been public, in spite of numerous public meetings held over many months.
The neighbors will no doubt continue to press their private agenda. In the meantime, any Chilmarker concerned for the long term interest of the town in obtaining additional beach for use by town residents should vote at town meeting to support the selectmen and authorize their continued planning and negotiations with the homeowners.
Eric L. Peters
The writer is chairman of the Vineyard Open Land Foundation.