Editors, Vineyard Gazette;

Wouldn’t it be nice if a project such as the proposed 40B housing project at the Donaroma’s site and adjoining lots could go before the Martha’s Vineyard Commission or any other planning board and be met with: “This proposal is of vital importance to the Island. It does present problems like most projects that will need to be addressed and resolved. So let’s sit down and consider how we can make it work!” rather than the usual knee-jerk reaction: “This is going to cause too much traffic, we are concerned for the safety of our children” and the usual NIMBY list that goes on.

It is as close to being as perfect a site for affordable housing that there might be, with 64 of the 80 units being designated for residents 55 years of age and over. Its occupants will have an opportunity to walk to the Stop & Shop, a banking facility, downtown Edgartown and services and shops at the Triangle. They will also have the convenience of being right next door to the public bus service with a weather-protected wait station. It may even have the benefit of causing the seniors who move into the facility to consider selling their homes to Island families at fair prices that fulfill the financial needs of the owners while assisting the financial needs of our younger residents.

Yes, we have increased traffic on the Island in July and August — two months out of twelve. That has been the case for generations, and it is not likely to get better. It is primarily caused by our seasonal residents who are vital to our economy.

The Commission will also soon consider a proposal to create a new home for the Island Food Pantry on Dukes County avenue in Oak Bluffs. And may possibly be asked to review a request for a special permit recently filed with the Oak Bluffs zoning board of appeals seeking to convert an existing building on Hudson avenue in Oak Bluffs to a winter shelter for nineteen of our homeless population. These are also projects of great importance to our Island community that are likely to cause some to claim “not in my backyard.”

Let’s listen to their objections respectfully, but in the end let’s act with compassion, recognizing that any proposal has possible negative effects, but that the positive aspects of these projects for our Island community far outweigh any possible negative effects.

Elaine and Howard Miller

Vineyard Haven