The following letter was sent to the Martha’s Vineyard Commission.
I believe you should deny the Stop & Shop application, as presented, for the following reasons:
Chapter 831 states: “The purpose of the commission created by this act shall be to further protect the health, safety and general welfare of island residents and visitors by preserving and conserving for the enjoyment of present and future generations, the unique natural, historical, ecological, scientific and cultural values of Martha’s Vineyard which contribute to public enjoyment, inspiration, and scientific study, by protecting these values from development and uses which would impair them, and by promoting the enhancement of sound local economies.”
I don’t see this happening if the proposal gets approved. Instead, I believe that the very values the commission is charged to protect would be severely compromised, in violation of the intent of Chapter 831.
Therefore, when you go through the checklist detailed in section 15 of Chapter 831, please consider my opinions of how these questions should be answered.
“Development at the proposed location is or is not essential or especially appropriate in view of the available alternatives on the island of Martha’s Vineyard.”
No, this development is not essential and is extremely inappropriate at the proposed location. No one has ever presented any data to suggest that there aren’t enough retail food outlets on this Island. The assumption that a larger food store is needed has not been proven. It has not been demonstrated that the public, or the Island’s economy, would benefit in any way from this project. I believe that it is all about profits for the applicant.
“The proposed development will favorably or adversely affect other persons or property, and if so, whether, because of circumstances peculiar to the location, the effect is likely to be greater than is ordinarily associated with development of the types proposed.”
There can be no question that this development will adversely affect other persons and property severely. The disruption of normal business and especially traffic, both during construction and afterward, will undoubtably have a severe impact, not only on Tisbury, but on the entire Island’s economy. If this development were to take place at a different location, it might be appropriate — but at the proposed location, it is madness, in the context of Chapter 831, to even consider it.
“The proposed development will favorable or adversely affect the supply of needed low and moderate income housing for Island residents.”
This project will have a negative impact on the supply of housing for Island residents, since the developer has indicated that it will bring in off-Island help, thus worsening the present situation. This help will be low income, and the developer has not provided a realistic and responsible solution to this problem.
“The proposed development will favorably or adversely affect the provision of municipal services and the burden on taxpayers in making provision therefore.”
There can be no question that this project would put a tremendous burden, not only on Tisbury, but on the entire Island. Especially during the construction phase, and continuing beyond, the traffic problems this will cause are unacceptable. To expect emergency vehicles to get through such a mess in a timely fashion is madness. This traffic mess this will cost tradesmen time for which they will not be compensated, kill retail trade all over the Island, mess up the Steamship Authority and send tourists packing. Tisbury has not given any indication that it is capable of effectively dealing with the situation, and the small amount that the developer is willing to offer for remediation will just not do so. Taxpayers will end up footing the bill. The negative impact that this project will have, at that location, to the whole Island’s economy, is staggering. No information on this has been presented to you in the application, therefore, you do not have a complete submission.
“The proposed development will further contravene land development objectives and policies developed by regional and state agencies.”
This project has the potential to severely impact both groundwater and surface water quality, in violation of federal, state and local water quality standards. It will have a substantially increased impact on these resources over the store that is there now. Since the Tisbury wastewater treatment plant is not licensed to take discharges from developments of this sort, an elaborate water collection and treatment facility will have to be built on-site, to deal not only with about 700,000 gallons of storm water runoff each year, but also the toxic drippings that will accumulate in the parking garage. If this situation is not handled right, it could have a substantial impact on the water quality of Tisbury harbor. That could adversely impact the fishing, shellfishing, boating and recreational industries of the town, and of the Island as a whole. Tisbury harbor is already partly polluted. The Island is annually experiencing an alarming rate of increase in seasonal beach closings. Tourists will soon say, what do I want to vacation on Martha’s Vineyard for, when the beaches are polluted? This could impact the whole Island’s economy, yet you have no information on this in the application. This is an issue you are supposed to address in making your determination, but you can’t — because you have an incomplete submission.
In light of all of the above, it makes sense to deny the application. The Island will not benefit from this development. It will hurt our economy and our way of life. “Qui bono.”
Frank H. Dunkl