Aquinnah DCPC

How Tiny Aquinnah Saved Itself from Overdevelopment

This spring marks the 20th anniversary of the unprecedented nomination of the entire town of Aquinnah as a district of critical planning concern (DCPC).

Aquinnah’s New Wind Bylaw Will Require Minor Retooling

A divided Martha’s Vineyard Commission last Thursday clashed over whether the technical language in a recently adopted Aquinnah wind bylaw is in synch with a townwide district of critical planning concern (DCPC) approved over 10 years ago.

In the end the commission voted 7-6 that the new bylaw — drafted by the planning board and approved by voters at a November town meeting — does not conform with the guidelines of the townwide DCPC.

Town, MVC Prevail in Moshup Trail Case

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court last week upheld the town of Aquinnah and the Martha’s Vineyard Commission in a key leg of a complicated and long-running property rights case that will ultimately decide whether a large swath of rare coastal heathland along Moshup Trail remains forever wild or is opened up to private development.

MVC Approves Aquinnah Energy District

The Martha's Vineyard Commission on Monday voted without dissent to designate an energy district critical of planning concern in the town of Aquinnah, the first such district of its kind on the Island.

The town and the commission will now begin the process of drafting special townwide regulations for Aquinnah to promote alternative energy in new construction and establish guidelines for the placement of wind turbines, solar panels and geothermal systems.

Aquinnah Tests Energy DCPC

The town of Aquinnah, known for being progressive in planning, this week moved a step closer to adopting a townwide energy conservation district.

Town selectmen on Wednesday submitted a nomination to the Martha’s Vineyard Commission to designate Aquinnah as an energy district of critical planning concern (DCPC). The nomination was filed by Camille Rose, chairman of the selectmen.

Court Ruling Favors Aquinnah, Upholding Townwide DCPC

Marking a key win for the town of Aquinnah in its long-running legal battle with James J. Decoulos and Maria Kitris, who want to open up Moshup Trail for development, the Massachusetts Appeals Court ruled yesterday on two separate fronts, finding:

• Mr. Decoulos has not won the right to subdivide two lots he owns off Moshup trail.

• The Aquinnah townwide district of critical planning concern is valid.

Townwide DCPC in Aquinnah Held Valid by Superior Court

A Middlesex Superior Court judge last week upheld the validity of a unique townwide planning and zoning district in Aquinnah.

The decision, which was entered on Friday by the Hon. Julian T. Houston, found in favor of the town and the Martha's Vineyard Commission against a developer who is seeking to open access to and subdivide parcels of vacant land off Moshup Trail. The developer, James J. Decoulos, has filed more than 10 different legal challenges against the town, a number of which are still ongoing.

A Tree Cutting Roils Aquinnah

The Aquinnah planning board will seek criminal charges against two seasonal residents and a local landscape company who topped a large swath of trees off Lobsterville Road without permission this summer.

Buildout Deadlines: Town of Aquinnah Sets Good Example

At the westernmost tip of the Island just four years ago, the residents of Aquinnah knew the potential for total buildout loomed just ahead in an era of unbridled development.

Over the last decade, the community of 200 year-round residents watched development stretch the seams of the town's 4,056 acres, and they knew that the intensity and nature of new house construction threatened to devastate the rural character of Aquinnah.

Court Ruling on Impact Fees Has Import for Island Towns

In a ruling that could carry special importance for the town of Aquinnah — as well as for other Vineyard towns that want to adopt impact fees — the Massachusetts Appeals Court this week struck down a school impact fee in the town of Franklin.
The court found that the impact fee, charged to developers, is an improper tax.
“This is so totally contrary to tax philosophy as to require it to be stricken down,” declared Mel Greenberg, an associate justice of the Massachusetts Appeals Court, who wrote the decision.