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Planning Board Minutes 03/20/2013

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


DATE:           March 20, 2013
TIME:                   7:00 PM

PLACE:          Town Hall Annex

ATTENDANCE:     Peak, Seidman, Stephenson, Thompson
                        Selectmen: Snyder, Krystal

BILLS:          MV Times …………………$63.80

MINUTES:                As referred in the March 6, 2013 Meeting Agenda
                        06 March 2013   Deferred


7:00 PM Mr. Krystal moved to open the Board of Selectmen’s joint meeting with the Planning Board at 7:00 PM. Mr. Snyder, Selectman seconded the motion. The motion carried                      2/0/0

7:01 PM Board of Selectmen RE: Cheryl Doble’s Appointment as Associate Planning                 Board Member
                Attendance: Jay Grande, Town Administrator; Cheryl Doble; Mary Ellen                    Larsen, Fin Com

At the Board of Selectmen’s request, Mr. Peak introduced Ms. Doble, noting that she had met with the Planning Board in the recent past to discuss the associate member’s responsibilities, and to learn about her interest(s) in serving on the Board. Ms. Doble reiterated the biographical information she had already shared with the Planning Board, mentioning that she was a landscape architect by training, and a professor at the university in Syracuse, New York. During her tenure as a professor she arranged several internships at the MV Commission to the island’s benefit. Now that she is a full time resident in Vineyard Haven, she wanted to utilize her expertise to the benefit of the community.

Her work at the MV Commission led her to meet Mr. Stephenson, with whom she has had many conversations about the types of projects the Planning Board has worked on.  Ms. Doble indicated that she has been reading the Planning Board’s minutes to understand their role and responsibilities in the community, and decided to meet with them to introduce herself and to determine if she could make a contribution to the community as an associate member.

Mr. Peak noted that the responsibilities for the associate members were limited. He nonetheless encouraged Ms. Doble to attend the meetings because the Board would benefit from her viewpoint and expertise.

There being no further comment from the Board of Selectmen and the Planning Board, Mr. Peak entertained a motion to appoint Ms. Cherly Doble as an associate member of the Planning Board.  Mr. Stephenson seconded the motion. Again, there being no comment on the motion, the motion carried.  6/0/0

7:05 PM Tisbury School Committee Re: Tisbury Elementary School
                Attendance: Jay Grande (Town Administrator), Mary Ellen Larsen (FinCom),                John & Janet Packer, Bob Tankard, Colleen McAndrews, James Weis                         (School Superintendent), Cheryl Doble, Amy Tierney, Jim Norton, John                    Custer (Principal), Sean Mulvey (Vice Principal), Laurie Hull, Whitney Burke            (school staff)

Ms. Colleen McAndrews called the Tisbury School Committee Meeting to order at 7:12 PM. Mr. Peak, Planning Board Co-Chairman asked the Planning Board and committee members to introduce themselves for the minutes.

Following the introductions, Mr. Peak noted tonight’s discussions were recommended by the Board of Selectman at the last joint meeting, when the School Committee unveiled the consultant’s costs for the five options offered to address the school’s space needs. Based on those discussions all agreed to meet to address two specific issues. The replacement or enlargement of the building referred to as the “white house” and the development of a working group consisting of one or two representatives of the boards/committees currently working on the project.

Mr. Peak directed the floor to Mr. Seidman, fellow board member who has been actively involved in the School Committee’s project, and the most familiar with the two topics to be discussed.

Mr. Seidman advised the board and committee members that he has been corresponding through emails with Colleen McAndrews about the so called “white house” and its replacement, and found that they could purchase and install a similar structure for a total cost of $359,000.00. He did not understand why the School Committee was of the impression that they would need $700,000.00 to continue the current lease arrangement.

Ms. McAndrew advised Mr. Seidman that the committee had posted an RFP with the consultant’s specifications to determine if the consulting firm’s projected costs were within the ballpark. The school in addition budgeted for an allowance of $20,000.00 to cover the cost of the lease up to an estimated $700.00/month for the next Fiscal Year. The two were separate items, and she wanted to make sure that the one did not impede any progress with the space needs project. She did not see any benefit in purchasing the unit at this time, if the use of unit was to be for the short term. Mr. Seidman understood the “white house” was also expected to be for the short term, but is still in use. With the money spent on the lease, the school could have purchased the “white house” and the additional classroom space they currently need. He urged them to reconsider.

Mr. Peak inquiries about the municipal bidding process, he led him to learn that it was cheaper to bid out the various components of a large municipal project separately. Mr. Seidman understood the town was also not bound by the prevailing wage law if they opted to go with a modular building.

Mr. Seidman added that the Planning Board was of the impression that the school’s current site was the best location.  Mr. Stephenson clarified that it would be hard to find as good a location as its current site.   Board members agreed.

Mr. Seidman also noted that the school committee had to be aware that they were competing with other urgent municipal projects such as the expansion of the sewage plant and should anticipate some resistance when the town is currently in debt for seventeen million.

Ms. McAndrews realized that they could not rely on state subsidies (reimbursements), but did not want to rule out the possibility. The school committee was committed to exploring the option. In the interim, they thought they should continue to explore the viability of each of the options offered by the consultants to decide on the ones they should pursue.

Mr. Peak inquired if the school committee had considered less costly alternatives to the five proposals, which all cost the same. If they were to explore each option and alternative possibilities, he though they should consider creating a working group that would be responsible for collecting information, and pursuing other avenues. A smaller group could zero in on specific issues. It appeared that in changing the economics in the process, they might have to alter the criteria.

Mr. Seidman inquired if there were any repercussions in not meeting the Massachusetts School Building Authority’s(MSBA)  minimum requirements, other than reimbursements.  Dr. Weiss explained that the MSBA set the minimum standards for what was described as a modern school. If the community sought financial assistance (school aid) in the form of a reimbursement, the community had to meet all of their minimum standards.  Communities were not obligated to meet the criteria. Dr. Weis thought it important to bring forth the issue that brought them to this juncture, the fact that the teachers in the elementary school were working in a substandard facility (leaking roof, failing HVAC, insufficient electricity, shortage of space).  The cafeteria, kitchen, and gymnasium were all substandard. The space for their special needs program was almost non-existent. They have been cited by state for the deficiency, and have held state funds withheld as a result.  

Mr. Krystal thought the directions of the discussions were veering from the joint meeting’s purpose. He understood the situation, but agreed with a few of Mr. Seidman’s comments. He did not believe the school committee would be able to solicit the community’s support to fund their project. He was also disappointed to see that the school committee has not considered alternatives to the five options, even thought he has asked this of several of the school committee members. Aware that there would be a certain amount of resistance to the concept, he hoped the School Committee would consider a regional approach such a three year junior high at the high school’s location to give them the time to pursue a solution, which could take as long as five to ten years.
It was his additional impression that the concept of a regional junior high needs to be addressed beyond the members of the school committees and brought to a public forum. He believed town voters would be much more supportive of an alternative that would be funded by all six towns as opposed to a twenty-three million school renovation. Mr. Seidman supported a regional alternative.

Janet Packer, school committee member complained that the proposal did not help to address their immediate issues, such as the leaking roof, substandard electrical service, failing heating system, etc. They could not wait five or ten years, or afford the building’s maintenance with the budget cuts. She supported the concept of a middle school, but felt the maintenance issues were a higher priority.

Mr. Stephenson believed they had to evaluate the options, and the suggested locations to determine if they are appropriate for the intended use. A thorough study was going to take time. He did not understand why the school committee was not addressing the immediate maintenance issues separately from the long term project. If the school building was in a state of disrepair, the town had an obligation to maintain its buildings. He reiterated that the school renovation qualified as a capital project. It did not include the sewer plant, a new town hall or  road improvements , which may cost the town as much as sixty to seventy million dollars. They needed a plan.  Dr. Weis agreed, and thought it an appropriate task for the Planning Board.  The reports the Board prepared in the past excluded the school.

Mr. Tankard wanted to clarify that the details in the proposal were the consultant’s recommendations based on the school’s current census, programs, etc. He also wanted to state that while he agreed with Mr. Krystal’s proposal for a re-organization, he did not believe it would receive the support Mr. Krystal projected from the towns of Edgartown, Oak Bluffs, and West Tisbury, especially when they’ve just renovated and/or constructed new schools.

Mr. Peak inquired about the anticipated time frame required to do a comparative analysis. Ms. McAndrews thought within a meeting or two. The school committee agreed that a working group would be more efficient. Mr. Peak thought it would eliminate “the discussions” from the analysis and come down to one or two viable options. Mr. Peak also noted that they could not allow the maintenance issues to continue unchecked. Mr. Krystal agreed and promised to assist the school committee if they brought the maintenance issues to the Board of Selectmen. Given that the budgets for FY 2014 were set, he thought they could approach the Finance & Advisory Committee, or hold a special town meeting to ask for emergency funds.

Mr. Peak believed the Planning Board was prepared to select their two representatives. Ms. McAndrews indicated that she would contact the Board of Selectmen’s and Planning Board’s staff to coordinate the working group’s first meeting. This being acceptable, the discussions were closed at 8:13 PM.

7:30 PM Public Hearing: Special Permit Application by Mateus Vaz Destefani Re:                  Food Service Establishment (Bite-N-Go), AP 09C11
                Attendance: Valerio Destefani, Mateus Daz Destefani, Mary Ellen Larsen and              Cheryl Doble

The hearing commenced in due form at 8:17 PM. Planning Board Co-Chairman, Mr. Peak read the public hearing notice into the minutes and introduced the board members.

Mr. Peak advised the applicants that Mr. Aldrin was unable to attend the meeting for health reasons. He was required to inform him that without a fifth member the proposal required a unanimous (four) vote to pass. If he thought the proposal was controversial or felt uncomfortable holding the discussions, he had the option to postpone the discussions until the fifth member was available or, to continue the hearing with the four members.

Mr. Valerio Destefani inquired if he had the option to resubmit his application.  Mr. Peak replied that he would be allowed to resubmit his proposal in two years, if the special permit was denied.  He did not foresee any issues. Board members concurred.  Valerio Destefani opted to move forward with the hearing process.

At the Planning Board Co-Chairman’s request, Valerio Destefani explained that he was the applicant’s father, and assisting his son, who ultimately was going to operate the restaurant. They presently operated a seasonal food establishment in Oak Bluffs, but wanted to take advantaged of an opportunity to run a year round establishment in Vineyard Haven. Valerio Destefani mentioned that they intended to serve the same menu offered in the buffet style establishment and incorporate a few menu items of his own.

In addition to the restaurant, Mr. Destefani wanted to offer a variety of cold beverages in a roadside cart to accommodate the beachgoers passing by.  He planned to keep the picnic tables, and understood that they were to be made available to the public.

Mr. Peak inquired if the applicant planned to provide trash receptacles. Mateus Vaz Destefani inquired if they were required to provide the receptacles year round.  Mr. Peak thought it would be wise to provide the amenity to their customers if they were serving food with disposable dinnerware. In case the trash became an issue, they reserved the right to ask the applicant to provide and manage the amenity.

Relative to the roadside cart, Valerio Destefani indicated that the hours of operation would coincide with those of the food service establishment. It was also going to be manned at all times.

Valerio Destefani inquired if he should discuss his plans for the signs he wanted to replace. Mr. Peak referred him to the Building Inspector, and explained that he would have to review the sign application with the Site Plan Review Board for their endorsement, before the Building Inspector could issue him the permit. Mr. Destefani inquired if he had to secure a permit for an awning. Mr. Seidman did not believed he required a permit for a plain awning. Mr. Peak thought it could if the awning contained the business name or logo. Again he was referred to the Building Inspector to make sure he complied with their zoning regulations.

Mr. Peak inquired if the applicant was operating the food service establishment. Valerio Destefani replied in the affirmative, explaining that he was working with the proprietor for a month, before he decided to acquire the business.

Mr. Peak noted that the Planning Board was in receipt of a letter from the property owner granting the applicant the right to secure the necessary permits to operate the food service establishment.

There being no further comment or discussion, Mr. Peak inquired if the Board were prepared to close the hearing to enter into deliberations.  Board members concurred.  Mr. Peak entertained a motion to close the public hearing at 8:35 PM and to enter into deliberations.  Mr. Seidman so moved. Mr. Stephenson seconded the motion, which motion carried.  4/0/0

8:35  PM        Deliberations: Special Permit Application by Mateus Vaz Destefani Re:                   Food Service Establishment (Bite on the Go), AP 09C11

The deliberations of the previously closed public hearing were opened at 8:35 PM. Planning Board Co-Chairman, Mr. Peak inquired if the boards had any last minute concerns or questions they wanted to address before voting on the application.

There being none, Mr. Peak entertained a motion to approve the special permit as applied for with conditions and restrictions.  Mr. Seidman so moved.  Mr. Stephenson seconded the motion, and the motion carried.  4/0/0

Mr. Peak advised the applicants that they would be reviewing a draft decision at their meeting next week, after which it would be filed with the Town Clerk to start the 20 day appeal period. He asked if they had met with the Board of Health. Valerio Destefani replied in the affirmative and noted that he had received his license by mail.

Mr. Peak inquired if he planned to relocate the cart indoors once it closed down for business. Valerio Destefani planned to leave the cart in its location, and simply removing the beverages every evening. He reiterated that they were selling beverages as long as it was manned.

With no further discussion, Mr. Peak entertained a motion to continue the deliberations on March 27, 2013 at 8:15 PM. Mr. Stephenson so moved.  Mr. Thompson seconded the motion, which motion carried.  4/0/0  The Planning Board resumed their regularly scheduled meeting at 8:40 PM


1.  Henry Stephenson, Board Member
A. Report – LUPC Meeting / Stop&Shop, Water Street

Mr. Stephenson was disappointed to report that the applicant’s representatives did not incorporate any of the Planning Board’s recommendation addressing the issues they raised at their meeting earlier in March.

The same concerns were reinforced by the comments made at the LUPC meeting. Their proposal for the left hand turn was poorly received, as were their traffic projections, and use of Norton Lane. It completely ignored the town’s plans for the pedestrian walk and/or shared use path.

Mr. Peak assumed that the traffic would increase given that supermarket would be able to accommodate more people. Mr. Stephenson agreed, and noted that the applicant’s traffic projections were low because they were utilizing and comparing the traffic projections for the small family businesses (e.g. Midnight Farm, Chinese restaurant) they were replacing.  Many people questioned the comparisons because the small family businesses never generated the kind of traffic experienced by Stop&Shop. If they experienced that kind of traffic, Mr. Stephenson doubted they would have sold their buildings to the applicant

Mr. Stephenson noted that the LUPC believed the applicant needed additional time to respond to the issues presented at the meeting. The MV Commission traffic planner was assigned to assist the applicant with a revised traffic report, and the full Commission was to be advised that the applicant was not prepared to move forward for a public hearing.

Mr. Stephenson understood that the applicant was to return to the LUPC in a couple of weeks to respond to the issues that were raised. He thought it was extremely important to take advantage of the time to communicate with the MV Commission about their issues with the proposal, and its significance to the town.  He spoke with Mr. London to share his ideas and was given assistance with a draft letter he wanted the Planning Board to review and agree to send to the LUPC. The draft letter reiterated the eight points that were shared with the Stop&Shop representative, and suggested potential alternatives.

Mr. Siedman did not have an issue with the letter if the last sentence in the fifth paragraph was eliminated. Messrs. Seidman, Stephenson and Peak agreed to review the final draft for potential clerical revisions. And this was agreeable to the Board.  

Mr. Peak recommended approving the letter as amended in the aforementioned comments from the Board. Mr. Seidman so moved.  Mr. Stephenson seconded the motion, which motion carried.  4/0/0

B. Report – Cultural District in Vineyard Haven

Planning Board members did not attend the presentation as anticipated.

2. Christopher Diaz
RE: Holmes Hole Road (Determination)

Mr. Peak advised the Board that he had petitioned the Board of Selectmen for access to town counsel for a legal opinion on the proposal. He hoped to obtain a response from the Selectmen at their next meeting.


1.  EBI Consulting
RE: Invitation to comment on the Tisbury Water Tank (AT&Ts upgrade)

2. Tisbury Conservation Commission
A. Public Hearing – Tisbury Marketplace Condo Assoc, AP 09B19 (trenching for a drywell)
B. Public Hearing – Mark Mszanski, AP 16A05 (tree cutting)
C. Public Hearing – Barbara Reynolds, AP 64A5.1 (tree cutting)

3. MV Commission
A. 15 March 2013 Extended Schedule
B. 21 March 2013 Meeting Agenda

PRO FORM        Meeting opened, conducted and closed in due form at 9:30 P.M.           (m/s/c  4/0/0)          
Respectfully submitted;
Patricia V. Harris, Secretary

APPROVAL:       Approved and accepted as official minutes;

______________          _________________________
Date                    L. Anthony Peak