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Planning Board Minutes 11/03/2010

P.O. BOX 602
(508) 696-4270
Fax (508) 696-7341


DATE:                   November 3, 2010

TIME:                           7:10 PM

PLACE:                  Town Hall Annex, 66 High Point lane

ATTENDANCE:             Aldrin, Peak, Seidman, Stephenson, and Thompson
MEETING MINUTES:        As referred in the October 20, 2010 Meeting Agenda
06 October 2010 Deferred
13 October 2010         Deferred
20 October 2010         Deferred

7:15 PM Deliberations (Cont): 241 Main Street Nominee Trust, AP 06C10

The continuation of the deliberations was duly opened at 7:22 PM. Mr. Peak, Planning Board Co-Chairman noted that the written record was left open to admit correspondence from the Tisbury Board of Health regarding the project’s disposal works system. Said letter, dated November 3, 2010 confirmed that the Board of Health had approved a variance for the system on Lot 1 and the installation of a new system for the existing dwelling on Lot 2.

Mr. Peak referred the Board to the draft decision, and reviewed the findings, determination and conditions/restrictions for any comments and/or corrections.  

There being only minor typographical errors on pages 2 and 3 of the draft document, Mr. Peak entertained a motion to approve the Decision as amended, with a copy of the Board of Health’s letter as an attachment. Mr. Stephenson so moved. Mr. Thompson seconded the motion, which motion carried. 5/0/0

There being no further discussion, Mr. Peak entertained a motion to close the deliberations. The Board moved, seconded and carried the motion. 5/0/0

The Planning Board resumed their regularly scheduled meeting at 7:40 PM

7:40 PM Hearing (Cont): Special Permit Application by Reid (Sam) Dunn, AP 09B19
                Attendance:  None

Hearing commenced in due form at 7:40 PM. Planning Board Co-Chairman, Mr. Peak advised the Board that the applicant had called to request a continuation because the MV Commission did not meet last Thursday. Mr. Reid’s hearing was rescheduled on November 4, 2010, at which time he expected an approval.  

Mr. Foley, the DRI Coordinator at the MV Commission indicated that the Commission would have a decision to review at the meeting, so that a final document would be available for next week’s meeting

Mr. Peak therefore recommended continuing the hearing until November 10, 2010 at 7:15 PM at the Town Hall Annex. Mr. Stephenson so moved. Mr. Aldrin seconded the motion, which motion carried.  5/0/0

The Planning Board resumed their regularly scheduled meeting at 7:42 PM

7:42 PM Reid Silva Re: Paul Kaplan, AP 02F02.7, Cayuga Street

Mr. Siva submitted a division of land proposing one building lot and two non-buildable parcels within the R25 District. It was a proposal the Planning Board members had discussed with Mr. Silva prior to going to Land Court.

Said plan of land included a notation stating that parcels 2 & 3 were not building lots.

Mr. Peak and the Board recalled the discussions, and did not have any issues against the proposal to prohibit them from endorsing the proposed division of land as an ANR under the Subdivision Control Law.  The Board members concurred.

There being no further discussion, Mr. Peak entertained a motion to endorse the Form A division of Land for the above referenced parcel as depicted in the Plan of Land in Tisbury, Mass. surveyed for 123 South Street Trust, LLC, dated 7 October 2010 by Vineyard Land Surveying & Engineering Inc. (Plan No 409-4).  Mr. Stephenson so moved.  Mr. Aldrin seconded the motion, and the motion carried.  5/0/0

7:54 PM Reid Silva Re: Olga Street, Lyle Lane and Evelyn Way

The Board solicited Mr. Silva’s impressions about possibly taking the three above referenced roads by eminent domain to create a third artery for the connector road.

Mr. Silva replied that all of the abutters, minus one, would support “the taking” because the property owner in question was using the one of the roads as his private property to store  equipment and stage vehicles. In past conversations with the other property owners, Mr. Silva understood that they would all support the taking. The anticipated changes that would occur would improve the area and booster their businesses.

8:09 PM Christine Flynn, Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Alliance Re: Model Right                to Farm Bylaw and draft MV Agricultural Commission Proposal

Ms. Flynn, a staff member at the MV Commission has been studying ways to improve local economies with a committee comprised of island residents as part of the Island Plan. The committee has since grown and formalized into a group known as the MV Agricultural Alliance, which has been meeting on a quarterly basis to promote agriculture and aquaculture.

Ms. Flynn explained that while fishing and farming contributed less than 5% towards the island’s economy, indirectly they served to preserve the natural resources, landscapes, scenic values and property values that attracted the tourists and seasonal homeowners year after year.

The MV Commission has been actively promoting aquaculture and agriculture for the last two decades, and has worked with related organizations (Farm Institute, Island Grown Initiative, MV Shellfish Group, Vineyard Conservation Partnership Group, etc.) to promote the concept of buying locally. They’ve helped local farmers to create business relationships with the restaurateurs, caterers, and grocery stores, and developed an Island Grown Map to advertise all of the food producing farms on the island. The maps are said to be available at Cronig’s Market and other outlets on island.

The MV Agricultural Alliance in the last two years has focused their energies on developing the Right To Farm Bylaw, and drafting a MV Agricultural Commission proposal. Ms. Flynn mentioned that the two initiatives were consistent with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ Department of Agricultural Resources’ mandate. At present 129 communities out of a total of 351 municipalities have established an agricultural commission, and 98 of those communities have established a “Right to Farm Bylaw”.  Ninety-four out of the 129 communities have established both.

The Commonwealth’s initiative was to create the Agricultural Commission, which was developed to serve as an advisory board to local government (i.e. Selectmen) to give farmers a formal voice at the town level relative to subdivisions, divisions, etc. Similar to any other volunteer board, the Agricultural Commissions was designed without any permitting or regulatory power or staffing.  It appeared that because there are many local organizations and groups on island (Farm Institute, Island Grown Initiative, MV Shellfish Group, Vineyard Conservation Partnership Group, etc.) working to promote agriculture and aquaculture, the MV Agricultural Alliance was recommending a regional board, in which each town would have its own representative. Ms. Flynn mentioned that they were also going to recommend to have the Agricultural Commission managed by Dukes County Commission rather than on a town by town basis.

Board members were informed that “The Right to Farm Bylaw” was a non-binding regulatory general bylaw (i.e. Town Bylaw) that would only require a simple majority vote at town meeting.

The Right to Farm Bylaw essentially promotes the preservation of natural resources with the inclusion of aquaculture, and the best practices for both agricultural and aquaculture (especially for the backyard farms).

Ms. Flynn mentioned that the state legislature amended last September the state zoning agriculture exemption. Commercial farms no longer needed 5 acres of farmland. Farms with 2 acres of land and $1000.00 profitable income per acre could now be defined as commercial farms.  She noted that it was somewhat complicated when a commercial activity (i.e. farmer’s market) was introduced.

Mr. Stephenson inquired if it applied to windmills.  Ms. Flynn replied in the affirmative, noting that it exempted windmills on farms under 150 ft. provided they met all other requirements for the exemption. Proposed wind turbines 150 ft. or more on farms still had to be reviewed by the MV Commission.
Ms. Flynn noted that the Towns of Aquinnah and West Tisbury were receptive to the proposal, but did inquire about benefits if Agricultural Commission did not have regulatory or permitting powers. She explained that it helped the towns identify the type (s) of farming practices they wanted to support, and to make sure that the backyard farmers were in compliance with all other regulations.

Mr. Peak inquired about the difference(s) between the Right to Farm Bylaw and the State Zoning Exemption for agricultural purposes. Ms. Flynn replied that the one dealt with commercial farms that sold its products, where the proposed bylaw dealt with the non-commercial farms.  She further noted that Chapter 61A required the 5 acre minimum for farmland to qualify for the tax exemption.

Mr. Stephenson asked where they expected or anticipated the conflicts to arise with neighboring farms. Ms. Flynn replied that it occurred when it involved animals, such as chickens. Mr. Stephenson inquired if the “best practices” addressed some of the foreseeable issues arising when residents interact with backyard farms.
Ms. Flynn replied in the negative, explaining that it essentially addressed the type of fertilizers, pesticides, etc. that could be used on the farms.

This led to discussions about a couple of issues that arose in the Towns of Tisbury and West Tisbury when residents complained of neighboring farms. Mr. Seidman commented on one incident, since he was personally involved. Mr. Stephenson thought it was important to control ambient sounds from different kinds of activities, because they were not all compatible with one another. He thought a mediating board that approached the problem in an unbiased way on neutral ground would be very helpful.

Ms. Flynn indicated that while the proposed bylaw was designed to be sympathetic towards the farmer, the MV Commission in these instances could serve as a liaison between the town, the aggrieved resident and farmer. She believed that it was the Agricultural Alliance’s next step. They wanted to create a type of body that would serve as a liaison between the neighbors and farmers to help them sort out these disputes.

Mr. Seidman did not anticipate allowing animals in the R10, R20 Districts, and inquired if they considered specifying a minimum separation requirement between residents and neighboring farms. Ms. Flynn replied in the negative. Mr. Peak agreed that the neighboring farms would not work in the densely populated residential districts. Mr. Seidman thought they could limit the farms to properties of one acre or more. Mr. Stephenson thought they should consider the sound levels.  Mr. Stephenson clarified that he was not referring to livestock, but to noise in general. Mr. Peak noted that certain types of noise are regulated by other regulations.

Mr. Stephenson inquired if it supported community gardens, and tenant farmers.  Ms. Flynn replied that it applied to the latter. He thought it an interesting concept, but inevitably it will become complicated and require regulations.  He favored the use should be allowed by special permit, in which applicants had to meet certain requirements relative to the context of the immediate area before they qualify. Mr. Seidman thought it should be allowed as a matter of right.

Additional discussions ensued with this regard, and Ms. Flynn thought they had to research existing regulations island wide, identify the areas where regulations will be required.  Mr. Seidman thought it should be a right. Mr. Stephenson disagreed and felt that he did not have an issue with any use as long as it did not spill out into neighboring properties such as light, noise, smoke. Mr. Seidman believed people should have a right to grown their own food.

Mr. Thompson recommended the Small Farmers Journal as a great reference for potential regulations.  Ms. Flynn indicated that all backyard farmers will be required to comply with local and state regulations.

Ms. Flynn mentioned that the Agricultural Alliance were hoping to see the town’s adopt the regulations in 2011, but that it may have to be postponed until they addressed West Tisbury’s request for regulations on horses and topsoil removal.

Although the Tisbury Planning Board has expressed concern with noise and odors, Ms. Flynn inquired if they were willing to support the proposal.  Mr. Peak indicated that he did not have the time to read the proposal in depth, but supported the overall concept.

Ms. Flynn mentioned that she still had to meet with other island towns, and look into tightening up the regulations, so that she would send them a letter with an update. The towns at that point would have to decide whether or not they would support the proposal.


1. America Planning Association
RE: 2011 National Planning Conference, April 9 – April12

Mr. Seidman noted that he was interested in attending the conference.  Mr. Peak noted that there was plenty of time to discuss the specifics of the conference at a later date, and recommended revisiting the topic next week.

2. Douglas Dowling, PLS
RE: Susan Fairbanks, AP 14A10 (Comment re: application of 07.07.04 to proposed Form A)

Mr. Peak advised the board that Ms. Fairbanks had approached them in 2005 with a proposal to divide her property under the Deep Lot provision.  It was rejected, because the proposal did not meet the requirements.

Mr. Dowling submitted a similar proposal, again proposing two lots under section 07.03.04. The regulation allows for one irregularly shaped lot and one substandard lot relative to frontage (50 ft).  

Board members agreed that it was too complex an issue to address at a later hour and recommended continuing the discussions at their next meeting on November 10, 2010.

3. Planning Board Board’s Work Session
RE: November 10, 2010

Planning Board members requested listing the old fire station or relocation of the town hall, the Green Communities Act Webinar (November 16, 2010), Renewable Energy Zone, Waterfront Commercial District, and a stretch code Building Code.


1. Douglas R. Hoehn, SB& H Inc
RE: Ferro Way Road Association

Mr. Peak recommended clearing up the issue about the 4 ft. wide swath. The language in the Road Association document states the swath is noted on the plan, and the board secretary claims the swath is not on the plan.  They have to make sure it is correct before they can accept the document. It was to be readdressed next week.

2. Daniel Seidman
RE: Clarence A Barnes, III and Family – Gas/Diesel Filling Station, High Point Lane

Planning Board members reviewed the documents Mr. Seidman obtained from the MV Commission that the applicant submitted to the LUPC, and held brief discussions about having a gas station on High Point Lane.

3.  Fred LaPiana, DPW
A. Comcast Cable Negotiations
B. Dept. of Transportation Conference (FYI)
C. Massworks Infrastructure Program (administrative consolidation of 6 programs)

4. MassDevelopment
RE: Vineyard Nursing Association’s application for funds to expand offices (Notification)

5. Martha’s Vineyard Commission
A. Public Hearing Notice -  Adoption of regulation for the Island Wind District of Critical Planning Concern (November 4, 2010 at 7 PM, MVC Offices)
B. FY 2011-2014 Transportation Improvement and FY 2011 United Planning Work Program
C. 4 November 2010 Meeting Notice
D. 29 October 2010 Extended Schedule

6. Tisbury Conservation Commission
A. Public Hearing Notice – Robert & Maureen Belisle, addition to an existing dwelling
B. Public Hearing Notice – Reid Dunn, Construction of a multi-use commercial bldg
C. Public Hearing Notice – Town of Tisbury, maintenance and improvement dredging (VH harbor)

7. Tisbury Zoning Board of Appeals
A. Public Hearing Notice –  Chappaquonsett LLC, addition to an existing building in shore zone
B. Public Hearing Notice –  Robert & Maureen Belisle, addition to preexisting, non-conforming structure on non-conforming lot
C. Public Hearing Notice –  Colin Weir, demolition and reconstruction of a pre-existing, non-conforming structure on a non-conforming lot
D. Public Hearing Notice –  John Rancourt, business activity occurring outside building

8. John Bugbee, Town Administrator
RE: Recent Updates to personnel Manual

PRO FORM        Meeting opened, conducted and closed in due form at 9:22 P.M.   
                        (m/s/c  5/0/0)          
Respectfully submitted;
Patricia V. Harris, Secretary

APPROVAL:       Approved and accepted as official minutes;

______________  _________________________
Date            L. Anthony Peak