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Planning Board Minutes 12/18/2013

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


DATE:           December 18, 2013
TIME:                   6:35 PM

PLACE:          Town Hall Annex

ATTENDANCE:     Doble, Peak, Seidman, Stephenson and Thompson
ABSENT:         Aldrin

BILLS:          Vineyard Electronics……………………..$39.98
                        Champlain Planning Press, Inc……………$95.00
                        MV Times………………………………$1210.00

MINUTES:                As referred in the December 4, 2013 Meeting Agenda
                        20 November 20, 2013    M/S/C           4/0/0
04 December 2013                M/S/C           4/0/0


6:35 PM Melinda Loberg, Wastewater Planning Committee re: Wright-Pierce’s Growth Projections

The Committee received a letter from their consultant, Wright-Pierce with a status report of the needs assessment that included growth projections for the town’s build-out, and wanted to solicit the Board’s impressions on the slightly modified figures to determine if they were in line with the Board’s projections.

Mrs. Loberg noted interest in hearing the Board’s thoughts about the concept of “flow neutral” and any “planning” suggestions for encouraging or discouraging density/growth in the areas (e.g. residential vs. commercial) being connected to the sewer system.   Mr. Peak thought Mr. Seidman could research current building records, and update his report to compare the new data for the Board. Mr. Seidman concurred.

Mr. Peak inquired if the MV Commissioned had modified their projections. Mrs.  Loberg replied in the negative.

Mr. Seidman noted that the town issued twenty-three permits in 2011, and an average of thirty building permits (new constructions) between 1981 – 2000. Mr. Seidman thought the number may have been slightly inflated because of the “building boom” they experienced, citing the year 2005 as an example, where the town issued fifty-one building permits. Mr. Peak they could look at the data for the last three years, and current date for the comparison.

Mrs. Loberg inquired if they managed to break down the building permits by district. Mrs. Doble inquired about the significance of the data. Mr. Peak replied that the information would breakdown the areas experiencing the most growth for a comparison with their projections.  

Mrs. Loberg advised the Board that the consultants had recently updated their groundwater study to narrow down the boundaries of the contributory areas (nitrogen) targeted for the project that were closest to the plant.

Mr. Stephenson inquired about the wick system and was informed that they wanted to replace  a couple of leaching fields, such as the one behind the fire station , which was close to groundwater.  The leaching field at the Park-N-Ridewas to be retained as a backup to the wicks, should the particulate matter clog the tubing.

Additional discussions ensued with this regard, and Mrs. Loberg noted that the Committee was interested in soliciting the Board’s opinion if they should go flow neutral, net flow neutral (combination of growth neutral, growth and no growth), and the areas where growth should be encouraged or discouraged.  Mrs. Loberg was also interested in learning how they could regulate the density levels in the targeted areas.

Board members were advised that the Wastewater Planning Committee would like to hear from the Planning Board by their next meeting on January 9, 2014. Mrs. Loberg departed at 7:14 PM.

7:15 PM Tisbury School Committee: Colleen McAndrews, Chairperson and Janet Packer
Attendance: School Staff -John Custer - Principal; Sean Mulvey – Assoc. Principal, James Weiss – Superintendent of Schools, Amy Tierney – Business Administrator,  Karen Burke (SAC) and Marion Lipke (Recorder)

The Planning Board’s joint session with the Tisbury School Committee commenced at 7:16 PM, when the latter’s chairperson, Ms. McAndrews called the meeting to order, and members of the board and committee briefly introduced themselves.

Mr. Peak expressed shock and disappointment on reading the School Committee’s recent press article in the MV Times regarding their vote to build a new school on West Spring St. Although he acknowledged the Planning Board was not diligent in pressing the School Committee for participation, he cited the Board’s minutes of March 20, 2013, in which the Tisbury School Committee agreed to form a Working Group with representatives from both the Board of Selectmen and the Planning Board to explore school facility issues.    

Ms. McAndrews responded that the School Committee maintained their regularly scheduled monthly meetings, which were posted with their agendas showing ‘Facility Needs’ as an item for each meeting.  She expressed disappointment that the Planning Board did not attend their meeting with Representative Tim Madden.  Mr. Seidman referred the School Committee Members and the School Staff to the Planning Board’s minutes of March 30, 2013 and read the following excerpt:
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.

Ms. McAndrews replied that the School Committee did not create the “working group” because they “had nothing to do”. Mr. Seidman noted that the Board was given the impression that they were to establish in the “working group” within a relatively short period of time. It appeared to him that there was a difference of opinion relative to the working group’s purpose. Mr. Custard believed they were of the opinion that the Planning Board was going to assist them prepare the “Statement of Interest” with the MSBA, but   missed the April 2013 deadline. Mr. Seidman noted that the discussion preceding the decision to formulate the group was about the scope of the school, the location of the school, to add or renovate, etc.  He shared Mr. Peak’s reactions to the article, given the discussions on March 20, 2013, and asked the Board to contact the School Committee.

Ms. McAndrews reiterated that the School Committee had not met outside their regular meeting schedule, other than for the one public meeting they held with Mr. Madden. The School Committee members for several reasons decided that they wanted to apply for the MSBA funds, and are steadfast on starting the application process for 50-60% funding by putting a Statement of Interest in for the April 2014 deadline, which is limited to new constructions. Until they are eligible for the funds, they do not have to ability to pursue a feasibility study, and may have to limit their options to renovations or additions.

Mr. Stephenson noted that the proposal for a new school precluded the town from exploring other viable options, or the drawbacks in pursuing the one course. It raised a sleuth of planning issues that would require a parallel analysis of the existing site’s use, and its impact on the town’s infrastructure. Mr. Seidman noted that they were making an assumption about the size of the building, and challenged the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) guidelines, suggesting that the class sizes were based on inaccurate (over inflated) statistics. It was his additional opinion that the process appeared to be preordained for a specific location and size, and doubted that the town would vote in favor of doubling the town’s debt to accommodate a new school.

In the additional discussions that followed, the Planning Board raised a number of issues that had to be considered prior to making any decision on a new location. They included:
- Potential changes in traffic patterns and the expense of increased commuting
- The cost for sidewalks, bike paths and utilities to the new site
- The land use restrictions imposed by the terrain and by the state and Water Department, to protect Tashmoo Springs, and the fact that they did not approach the Water Department about the use of their land,
- The sentimental attachment town residents have for the school,
- The school’s historical use for other town functions (e.g. emergency shelter, Town Meetings) because of its location, and
- The parallel analysis of converting the school building for other municipal uses: Town Hall, Police Station, Elder Housing, etc.

Mr. Seidman thought future advances in the field of education may make classrooms obsolete or reduce the need for large classrooms. The statistics he read did not correlate a student’s learning experience with the size of a classroom. The New England School Development Council’s (NESDEC) projections were diametrically opposed to the recent needs assessment, which is projecting a change in the island’s populace (older retirees).

Mr. Weiss, the Superintendent of Schools noted that NESDEC predictions had been accurate for the least 10 years.

Mr. Peak requested a clarification about the MSBA’s grant and the application process. Mr. Custer explained that the grant was open to the entire Commonwealth and designed for new constructions. The filing of the Statement of Interest in April 11, 2014 was the first step in the application process.  The MSBA’s application process could take as long as two years. If they were not notified of their acceptance by June of July, they were required to reapply annually until they received some notice. Upon receipt of a notice, the School Committee  had to approach the town for half a million dollars to conduct a feasibility study. The MSBA ( conducted the six month feasibility study for a determination on need, and reimbursed the town up to 50% of the cost for the  study. Once they were accepted and the reimbursement rate was set, the Town had 120 days to fund the project.

Mr. Seidman asked Mr. Weiss about the island’s school children’s educational scores relative to the other school districts in the Commonwealth. Mr. Weiss noted that the island’s students’ scores were consistently within the top ten percentile. Mr. Seidman inquired if there was a correlation between the cost per student and their performance. Mr. Weiss did not they could compare the schools equally when some schools, given that some schools offered much more comprehensive and expensive programs (vocational education, special education).  Rural schools with lower enrollment often had higher per pupil costs.

Mr. Custer, the Tisbury Elementary School Principal added that the current building and classrooms were subpar, and were packing the growing Special Education (SpEd) and English Language Learners (ELL) students in very tight quarters.  

The Planning Board agreed with the School Committee that the current building was insufficient, requiring some action to address the deficiencies. They further noted that it was possible that they might ultimately come to agree with the School Committee. The Board however reiterated that they were still interested in looking at a number of alternative construction methods and parallel plans.

Mr. Weiss mentioned thought the Flansburgh Feasibility Study, the Tisbury School Committee funded provided information about some of the core issues that could be used as a foundation for their analysis. It produced five (5) potential options ( two renovations of the current building, a new construction on the existing site and a new construction on both the Manter and the Spring Street sites). Although the projected costs for each proposal were viewed as extremely high, the dollar amount for each proposal was about the same.

Mrs. Packer inquired if the Planning Board had investigated alternative uses for the school property, and shared the information with the School Committee. Board members replied in the affirmative, noting that it was a work in progress. Mr. Peak however noted that the building was going to have to be completely renovated regardless of use. The prejudice for wanting the property to remain a school, made the other options not particularly appealing. It did not negate the fact that there were other options that should be studied. For the present the town did not have any funds or plans to convert the building for any other specific municipal use.

Mr. Peak agreed that the estimates for the five (5) options were relatively very high, but he questioned if the figures included any of the expenses for the improvements to the infrastructure, such as sidewalks, etc. Ms. McAndrews and others responded in the negative.

Mr. Peak made reference to the School Committee’s minutes of October 21, ,2013 about the potential use for the Manter property, and noted that the school had already financially benefited from the sale of the property, and the parcels given to the school from the Manter Estate so that they were no longer available for the exclusive use of the school. He did not believe the school committee had spent a sufficient amount of time exploring a Plan B, but promised to invest time in “flushing out” the details for Plan B, and compiling the data for a presentation by spring.

Mr. Seidman understood that there were improvements that they had to address urgently, and was happy to see that the School Committee was pursuing an article to repair the roof.  He wanted to explain why he was objecting the application of the state’s standard for the size of the school or classroom, and felt they were being dictated to comply with a standard that did not necessarily apply to their community, or has been proven to benefit their children, without any thought about the educational system’s future trends. He just wanted to see an appropriate school for their student population. Mr. Peak thought it important to mention that the “Wedge” was one of the few contiguous tracts of open of land that has an intrinsic value to the town and its children.

Planning Board members expressed their support for the School, and their emotional attachment and commitment to preserve the remarkable character of the Town.

Ms. McAndrews emphasized that the project must go forward with the whole Town working together because it was intrinsic to the entire Town. Although the School Committee had made decisions about their viable options, she welcomed the Planning Board’s assistance in studying alternatives because there was a chance they might have to consider other options, because she felt there was a good possibility that they might not get the funds.

Mr. Custer noted that the terms “biased and prejudiced” utilized in the discussions and was curious to know if the Board individually or collectively did not favor new construction. Mr. Stephenson admitted that he did not support the option of a new building in a new location, because the current location was at the heart of the town, within walking distance of the most densely populated residential districts and multi-functional use (e.g. town meeting, emergency shelter). If the school system’s educational requirements make the existing building obsolete, he would not be adverse to a whole new construction. It was the location that concerned him the most, because a new site may not be walkable, add cost to the project and have an impact on the infrastructure.

Ms. McAndrews thanked the Board for their comments and offered to place the Planning Board on the school committee’s meeting distribution list. It was suggested that they should the Board Secretary’s email address, so that she in turn could forward it to the board members.

There being no further discussion, Mrs. Packer entered a motion to adjourn the meeting. Said motion was seconded by Ms. McAndrews, and duly adjourned 8:20 PM

8:22 PM Charles Gilstad, Sourati Engineering Group- Preliminary Discussions Re: Form C Proposal AP 26D18

Mr. Gilstad submitted a preliminary plan of a Form C division of land proposing three (3) building lots and one (1) road lot for the Board’s review and comment.

Board members were reminded that the property in question was the subject of an ANR, in which the future division of the rear lot had been discussed. Mr. Gilstad noted that the proposed subdivision road had a forty (40) feet wide interface with the road, then tapered down to thirty (30) ft. so that the lots could meet both the frontage and land area requirement. He planned to submit the definitive plan under the Small Project section, and inquired if the Board had any issues with the layout of the road or the proposal for a twelve (12) feet wide traveled surface.

Mr. Peak did not see an issue with the proposed layout, but advised Mr. Gilstad that the Board was asking applicants to use a similar grade of RAP the town used to pave Holmes Hole Road for the traveled surface.  Board members agreed.

8:30 PM Public Hearing- Bylaw Amendments, Site Plan Review Board

Hearing commenced in due form at 8:30 PM. Mr. Peak, Planning Board Co-Chairman read the hearing notice in its entirety into the record of the minutes. Mr. Peak explained that the proposed amendments were intended to consolidate the duties of the Site Plan Review Board and Site Plan Review Committee, so that they had one advisory board

Mr. Peak recommended typographical corrections as he read the proposed amendment, which included:
A)      The addition of “Officer” and the end of the paragraph in the introductory paragraph in Section 06.07, listed under 3) a. in the hearing notice
B)      The replacement of “Zoning Officer” with “Zoning Enforcement Officer” in Section 06.07.01 listed under 3) b. in the hearing notice,
C)      The correction of the reference to the Site Plan Review Board, in which committee was deleted in section 09.01.07 listed under 4) in the hearing notice,
D)      The substitution of the word “action” with “application” in section 09.01.07 listed under 4) in the hearing notice,
E)      The correction of the reference to the Site Plan Review Board, in which committee was deleted in section 09.02.05 listed under 5) in the hearing notice,
F)      The substitution of the word “action” with “application” in section 09.02.05 listed under 5) in the hearing notice, and
G)      The substitution of the word “Official” with “Officer” in proposed section 10.06.01 listed under 4) in the hearing notice,

Mr. Seidman thought they should revise the membership, so that they have an odd number.  Mr. Peak did not think it mattered because the Board only made recommendations to the referring permit granting the authority.

The Board Secretary inquired about the Zoning Board of Appeals’s Adminstrative Staff’s recommendation to eliminate the Zoning Board of Appeals from the Board or allowing them to designate a representative on the Site Plan Review Board.  Mr. Peak disagreed with the recommendation, because the Board member serving on the Site Plan Review Board can make sure that the referring board reads and enters their advisory opinion in the minutes of the application’s review.
Other discussion ensued, and Mr. Peak recommended continuing the discussions in the deliberations of the hearing.  Mr. Seidman moved to enter into deliberations at the conclusion of the public hearing. Mr. Stephenson seconded the motion to close the hearing and to enter into deliberations.  The motion carried: 4/0/0 The hearing closed at 8:58 PM

8:58 PM Deliberations: Zoning Bylaw Amendments – Site Plan Review Board

Board members reviewed the proposed bylaw amendments and continued to discuss potential revisions.

Mr. Peak asked that they continue the discussions on January 8, 2014 at 7:00 PM to finalize the revisions. Board members agreed.

Mr. Peak entertained a motion to continue the deliberations on the proposed bylaw amendments at 7PM on January 8, 2014. Mr. Seidman entered a motion to recommend the bylaw amendments as corrected at the public hearing to town meeting.  Mr. Stephenson seconded the motion. Motion carried: 4/0/0

Mr. Stephenson moved to continue the deliberations on January 8, 2014 at 7:00 PM in the Town Hall Annex. Mr. Thompson seconded the motion, which motion carried. 4/0/0


1. Zoning Bylaw
RE: Medical Marijuana Centers

2. Town Report 2013


1.  Tisbury Zoning Board of Appeals
RE: Special Permit #2158 – 867 Main Street, AP 02H05

2. Vineyard Land Surveying
RE: Chap. 91 Waterways License Application, Tisbury Wharf, 158 Beach Road

3. MV Commission
A. 13 December 2013 Extended Schedule
B. 19 December 2013 Meeting Agenda

PRO FORM        Meeting opened, conducted and closed in due form at 9:20  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