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Planning Board Minutes 02/06/2013

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


DATE:           February 6, 2013
TIME:                   7:03 PM

PLACE:          Town Hall Annex

BILLS:          UPS Store……………………………….$263.25
        Vineyard Gazette………………………..$  77.00
                        Vineyard Gazette………………………..$  77.00
                        Verizon………………………………….$  53.09
                        Realty Publishing Co……………………$150.00
                        Realty Publishing Co……………………$150.00
                        DaRosa’s ………………………………..$ 35.25
MINUTES:                As referred in the January 16, 2013 Meeting Agenda
                        16 January 2013                 M/S/C   3/0/0


7:03 PM Douglas Hoehn, SB&H Inc. – Preliminary Discussion Re: Christopher Dias,                 AP 20A01 (AP 24-21 Oak Bluffs)

Mr. Hoehn submitted an aerial photo of the above referenced parcel to advise the Board that his client was interested in subdividing 8 acres of land in which five of the eight acres lie in the R20 District in the Town of Tisbury, and the remaining three acres lie in the R3 District (60,000 sq. ft. lots) within the Town of Oak Bluffs.

Mr. Hoehn explained that he had met with the Planning Board in the Town of Oak Bluffs to solicit their impressions and wanted to know from the Board members if there were any issues with the proposal he should be aware of before he filed an application.  He mentioned that the access to the proposed subdivision lots would be obtained from the rectangular lot on the west, which fronted on Holmes Hole Road.  The proposed subdivision road was to follow the path of the existing driveway, heading east towards the town line, and then parallel to the abutting subdivision road, known as Upland Lane.

In his discussions with the Oak Bluffs Planning Board, he advised them that his client wanted to construct the subdivision in one phase. He noted that while they did not have an issue with the subdivision, they were concerned about the process. Mr. Hoehn explained that the proposal would be contingent on each board’s approval.

Mr. Peak noted that the access to the Oak Bluffs portion of the property was on Holmes Hole Road, which lies in the Town of Tisbury. Tisbury’s regulations require that all private roads in a subdivision had to intersect with a public way.  Mr. Hoehn inferred that the regulations also allowed the Board some latitude in proposals where the property in question crossed a town border.   Mr. Peak indicated that Holmes Hole Road did not go all the way to the Oak Bluff’s border. He also mentioned that the Town of Tisbury owned Holmes Hole Road, including the portion that ran through Oak Bluffs. Mr. Hoehn offered to check his files, since he was involved in surveying a portion of the road for the town.  

Mr. Peak appeared to recall that the town voted to accept the road up to 30 ft. from its border with the Town of Oak Bluffs. He added that there were two issues with the proposal. He did not believe Holmes Hole Road was not adequate for the existing traffic flow, much less the additional traffic to be generated from the subdivision, and the property lies in the Ground Water Protection District.  He also mentioned that the proposal may be referred to the MV Commission because the property could have an impact on the Lake Tashmoo watershed.

Mr. Stephenson inquired if the developer would consider keeping the east end of the property behind Sailor Burying Ground Road as a natural buffer to protect the ancient trail.  Mr. Hoehn offered to bring it to his client’s attention.  Mr. Peak thought they could also restrict or prohibit any access from the subdivision on Sailor’s Burying Ground Road as one way to protect the trail.

Mr. Hoehn inquired about the process. Mr. Peak has never encountered a similar application, and noted that he wanted to address the topic with Town Counsel. Mr. Hoehn noted that the Revisions of 1987 incorporated language addressing the topic. Mr. Peak added that Holes Hole Road was public as far as Breakdown Lane, and reiterated that it did not go as far as the Tisbury/Oak Bluffs corporate limit.  Mr. Hoehn offered to investigate the road’s boundary.

Mr. Seidman inquired about the potential number of lots. Mr. Hoehn replied eight (8) lots. Mr. Stephenson inquired about the condition of the road.  Mr. Hoehn recommended driving on the road, because it was his impression that the road was adequate for subdivision purposes.  Mr. Peak indicated that there were sections of the road that were not being maintained. He also wanted a clarification about process when access into a subdivision is in a different town. Mr. Peak thought the application would have to be submitted to the Town of Tisbury where the access originates.

There were other questions Mr. Peak wanted to ask of Town Counsel, and requested the time to discuss his questions and concerns with Town Counsel.  Mr. Hoehn understood and asked to be contacted as soon as possible.

7:31 PM Public Hearing – Special Permit for McCurdy Motorcars, Inc., AP 10B01
                Attendance: Tom McCurdy, applicant; Mary Ellen Larsen, FinCom, Bill                     Straw
Hearing commenced in due form at 7:31 PM. Mr. Peak opened the hearing reading the public hearing notice into the minutes and advised the applicant that the Board was short one members due to illness, which prompted him to inform Mr. McCurdy of his rights to postpone the hearing until all five members were present or to continue with the public process with the four members. The applicant was notified that if he agreed to continue with the hearing, the application would require a unanimous vote. Mr. McCurdy understood, and stated that he wanted to move forward on his application.  Mr. Peak asked the applicant to come forward to present his proposal to the Board.

Mr. McCurdy indicated that he wanted to renew his special permit, which was due to expire. The special permit was approved with a two year term, after which he was to return to the Board for an extension, provided there were not any issues or complaints. Mr. McCurdy stated that he had sold 100-125 cars during this time and helped his clientele (islanders) find the right vehicle at affordable prices. In doing so, he did not make much of a profit, but felt he provided the island a much needed service.

He was not aware of any complaints, and has kept the property clean and presentable. He asked the Board if they would consider extending the term of the special permit to five years.

Mr. Peak advised the Board that while they could not technically endorse the use, he did not personally have an issue with the proposed use, when it was made clear “that it was not a permanent encroachment on the property”. Mr. Seidman mentioned that the applicant in his letter of application to the Board clearly noted that there could come a time when he may be asked to vacate the premises.  Mr. Peak wanted to make sure that they incorporated language in the decision prohibiting future requests for any type of use that is not allowed.

Mr. Stephenson informed Mr. McCurdy that there was a possibility that he would have to re-arrange the vehicles on the property to make room for an 8 ft. – 10 ft. right-of-way along the Beach Road Corridor to accommodate a shared-use-path.  Otherwise, he did not have an issue with the proposal, and extending the permit for another two years, unless the Board was inclined to grant him a five year term.

Mr. Seidman asked that they include language in the special permit to clarify that their endorsement in no way extends the applicant’s rights to remain on the property, should the property be sold, and would require re-negotiation with the new owner.  Mr. Seidman indicated that he did not have an issue extending the term of the special permit.  Mr. Thompson concurred and informed the board that he too did not have an issue extending the term of their endorsement to five years.

There being no further comment, Mr. Peak noted that they had received a letter from the property owner, Mr. Ralph Packer consenting to Mr. McCurdy’s application. Members of the general public were given another opportunity to comment on the application. There being no comment from Mrs. Larsen or Mr. Straw, Mr. Peak entertained a motion to close the public hearing and entering into deliberations.  Mr. Stephenson so moved. Mr. Thompson seconded the motion, which motion carried.  4/0/0    The public hearing was closed at 7:42 PM.

7:42 PM Deliberations: Special Permit for McCurdy Motorcars, Inc., AP 10B01

Mr. Peak believed that the previously endorsed special permit document applied to the extension with the obvious minor changes. Mr. Seidman reminded them to include the severability clause they had discussed at the hearing, along with a change in the term to five (5) years.

Mr. Peak noted that with the recommended changes he was prepared to vote and entertained a motion to grant the applicant, Mr. McCurdy a special permit to continue his operations. Mr. Seidman moved the recommendation. Mr. Thompson seconded the motion, and the motion carried.  4/0/0

Mr. Peak noted that protocol required the Board to continue the hearing to review the draft decision for a final endorsement. He asked the Board if they thought they should proceed with protocol, given that for this application, the modifications would be minor in nature, or permit him to revise the applicant’s previous special permit with the Board Secretary as noted in the hearing and deliberations, so that they can file the final draft with the Town Clerk.  Mr. Seidman, Mr. Thompson and Mr. Stephenson were agreeable to the recommendation and voted accordingly.  4/0/0

There being no further comment, Mr. Peak entertained a motion to close the deliberations. Mr. Seidman moved the close the hearing. Mr. Stephenson seconded the motion. The motion carried.  4/0/0  The deliberations were duly closed at 7:48 PM

7:48 PM Public Hearing: Proposed Zoning Bylaw Amendment of Section 04.02.14
                Attendance:  Mary Ellen Larsen, FinCom; Bill Straw

The hearing was duly opened at 7:48 PM. Planning Board Co-Chairman, Mr. Peak read the public hearing notice into the minutes and acknowledged the two members of the public present for the discussions.

Mr. Peak advised the board members that they were required to review by state statute all modifications of the zoning bylaw for a recommendation to the town for their ratification. The regulation under consideration was recommended by a Selectman, who suggested with the closure of the septage lagoons, that the land could provide town residents an alternate parking arrangement for their commercial vehicles (trucks) and heavy equipment, so that they no longer posed a nuisance for the town.  

Mr. Peak was not aware that anyone had ever entered into a lease arrangement with the town to park their heavy equipment on the site. He did learn that there were other elements in town that have expressed an interest in using the same property for other purposes.

Mr. Stephenson inquired if the regulation impacted the property’s future use for solar panels. Mr. Peak did not think so.  Mr. Straw assumed that the proposed bylaw amendment cleared the way for the property’s use for solar panels.

Mr. Peak contacted Town Counsel for a clarification, because he was not certain if they could allow the use if it was not specifically permitted or under the direct control of the Board of Selectmen, when a private company would be managing the solar array.  Town Counsel clarified that as long as the Board of Selectmen controlled the lease, they essentially controlled the property so that it was not an issue.

Mr. Peak indicated that it was specifically written to be used for that property alone, since spot zoning is illegal. He thought it was better to delete the language, rather than to continue having a regulation that did not benefit the town.

Mr. Straw commented that the property in question was one of the last remaining contiguous areas in town that remained natural and wild. He has seen the area used as a dumping ground, to the detriment of the property’s value. The use of the property for solar panels would help to preserve and protect the land, especially when the installer has a financial investment in the land.

There being no further comment, Mr. Peak entertained a motion to close the public hearing, and to enter into deliberations. Mr. Seidman so moved. Mr. Stephenson seconded the motion, which motion carried.  4/0/0

7:56 PM Deliberations: Proposed Zoning Bylaw Amendment of Section 04.02.14

The deliberations of the previously closed public hearing was duly opened at 7:59 PM.

Mr. Peak asked the Board if they had any further comments about the removal of the language. There being none, he entertained a motion to approve of and recommend the proposed bylaw amendment. Mr. Seidman so moved. Mr. Stephenson seconded the motion, which motion carried.  4/0/0

Mr. Straw inquired if the proposed regulation allowed the use of the property where the septage lagoons are located free and clear for the solar array. He was not sure if it would also require a separate bylaw amendment that would specifically allow a solar array in that district, and if had to be voted on at town meeting.  

Mr. Peak replied that all zoning bylaw amendments required a town vote. Mr. Straw inquired if the language was included on town warrant.  Mr. Peak replied in the affirmative.  Again, there being no further comment, Mr. Peak entertained a motion to close the deliberations so that they could resume their regularly scheduled meeting.  The deliberations closed at 7:59 PM


1.  Ground-mounted Photovoltaic Solar Array @ Compost Pile, High Point Lane
RE: Amendment of vote

Mr. Peak informed Mr. Straw that the Planning Board wanted to amend their recommendation so that it included a time constraint.  Mr. Seidman indicated that they wanted to limit the recommendation to two years.

Mr. Seidman moved to amend their letter to the Board of Selectmen to include a time frame for the substantial completion of the project to be two years.  Mr. Stephenson seconded the motion. Motion carried   4/0/0

Mr. Straw solicited the Board’s impressions about the possibility of locating other sites for solar panels in the town. He wanted to know how far he should take the project. Mr. Peak indicated that there appeared to be support for utilizing the roofs of town owned structures e.g. fire station or new constructions e.g. school. He hoped that in the pre-planning of these constructions, they’d consider maximizing the solar capacity of the buildings.

Mr. Straw inquired if the Planning Board could mandate it as a requirement for new structures. Mr. Peak did not know for certain. Additional discussions ensued with this regard, and the Board believed advancements in technology will make it feasible and affordable, so that they wouldn’t have to commit a large tract of land for solar panel arrays for 20 years.

Mr. Stephenson recommended approaching Stop-N-Shop since they were in the process of expanding their building on Water Street.

2. CPTC Workshop
RE: March 16, 2012

Mr. Peak expressed an interest in attending the workshop, and asked the Board to check their calendars to see if anyone else might be interested. He recommended revisiting the subject at their meeting on 20 February 2013.

3. Town Report

Mr. Seidman provided the Board a draft he had prepared for their review. Board members read the letter and recommended minor typographical corrections.  The report was approved with amendments.

Mr. Stephenson was feeling poorly, and departed at 8:45 PM.

4. Tisbury Elementary School

Board members held brief discussions. Mr. Seidman indicated that they should keep the existing gymnasium. He did not have an issue with its renovation, but he was not convinced that they needed a 10,000 sq. ft. gymnasium.  Mr. Peak noted that they did not have sufficient space to accommodate the bleachers, because they open right to the side line.  Mr. Seidman thought they could adjust the bleachers. Mr. Peak wanted to ask if they could build a gymnasium over the parking lot. Mr. Seidman thought they could add a second floor to accommodate a cafeteria.

Mr. Seidman has been researching alternative options that he could present to the School Committee and found Project Fog. He offered to email the members their website.


1. RM Packer Co. Inc.
RE: Letter of Consent – McCurdy Motor’s application for a special permit

2.  Fred LaPiana, DPW Dir
RE: Rescinding Article for pocket parking lot, Beach Street

Mr. Peak informed the Board that he had met with the DPW Commissioners at their last meeting to discuss the $15,000.00 warrant article to convert the old fire station into a  pocket parking lot, and suggested that they contact other boards, such as the Planning Board to discuss future proposals to prevent the “shock factor” they experience on reviewing warrant articles.

Mr. Peak indicated that the DPW Commissioners had submitted the article because of the lack of confidence in the Board of Selectmen. They were concerned that the Board of Selectmen were going to knock demolish the building and leave the rubble strewn for years before they decide on an alternate use. They explained that the funds they were requesting were to be used to clean up the lot and plant some grass, in case the Board of Selectmen did not.

The commissioners were also interested in using the lot to provide a grand and welcoming entrance to the park, at which point he shared Mr. Stephenson’s schematic for the parking lot.

As a result of his discussions with the Commissioners, they agreed to withdraw the warrant article for $15,000.00. The letter they’ve sent to the Planning Board affirms their determination to rescind the warrant article, with the understanding that they remained concerned with the eventual design of the parking facility in that they would like the design tailored to creating a public entrance to Veteran’s Park.

Mr. Stephenson submitted copies of a revised conceptual design he had created for the parking facility which would accommodate an entrance to Veteran’s Park. Mr. Peak requested additional copies that he could send to the DPW and the Board of Selectmen with a note explaining that it is solely a conceptual design and that it’s a basis for conversation.

3. Zoning Board of Appeals
RE: Case #2137 – Clarence Barnes, 392 State/High Point Lane (Denial)

4. Thomson West
RE: Zoning Bulletin, 25 December 2012

5. MassConservation
RE: 2013 Massachusetts Land Conservation Conference

6. American Planning Association
RE: National Planning Conference – April 13-17, 2013

7. Thomson Reuters
RE: Zoning Bulletin, 10 Jan. 2013

8. MV Commission
A. 01 February 2013 Extended Schedule
B. District Local Technical Assistance - 2013


1. Island Town Boards – Medical Marijuana Treatment Center


Tisbury School Committee Meeting on February 12, 2013 at 5PM @ Conference Room

PRO FORM        Meeting opened, conducted and closed in due form at 9:00 P.M.           (m/s/c  3/0/0)          
Respectfully submitted;
Patricia V. Harris, Secretary

APPROVAL:       Approved and accepted as official minutes;

______________  _________________________
Date                    L. Anthony Peak