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Planning Board Minutes 06/18/2014

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


DATE:           June 18, 2014
TIME:                       7:06 PM

PLACE:          Town Hall Annex

ATTENDANCE:~~~~~~~ Doble, Peak, Seidman, and Thompson

BILLS:          UPS Store……………………….$19.50

MINUTES:                As referred in the June 04, 2014 Meeting Agenda
                        04 June 2014– M/S/C     4/0/0


7:07 PM              Douglas Dowling – Smith & Dowling Re: Form A Applications
                           Attendance: Mary Ellen Larsen, FinCom

1) Jayne Stanek, AP 06A04, Deep Lot
D. Dowling noted that the applicant was in the process of obtaining a VA loan for the existing dwelling, and wanted to divide the property before obtaining the loan.

The rear lot met the dimensional requirements for the zoning district and the 30 ft. frontage requirement for deep lot divisions.~ L. Peak noted an irregularity in the house lot’s rear property line.  D. Dowling explained that the one property line jutted out to accommodate the setback requirements for the existing dwelling’s eptic system.  

There being no further discussion, D. Seidman entertained a motion to endorse the plan of land. L. Peak moved to endorse the plan as submitted as an ANR under the subdivision control law, and noted that the plan did not have the disclaimer pertaining to the application of zoning regulations. D. Dowling offered to print the disclaimer on the plan so that the Board could sign the plan. This being acceptable to the board,  J. Thompson seconded the motion, which motion carried. 4/0/0

2) Michael Ursin, AP 32C2, 32C2.1 (Property Line Adjustment)

D. Dowling indicated that the applicant decided to adjust the existing property line to gain both land area and beach access before Lot 1A was placed on the market.~

J. Thompson inquired about the 24 ft. right of way that was illustrated on the plan.~ D. Dowling explained that it was a deeded right-of-way that no longer existed.

D. Seidman did not see any reason to prohibit the board from endorsing the plan, and deferred to fellow board members. L. Peak moved to endorse the plan showing the lot line adjustment as an ANR under the subdivision control law. J. Thompson seconded the motion, and the motion carried.~ 4/0/0

7::25 PM~~~~~~~~ Rae Carter and Martha Adleman Re: Proposal for a Coffee Shop at 95 Beach Road (Chris Sze), AP09B24
Attendance: Martha, Mary Ellen Larsen, H, Lee, D, Hodsdon, B. Robinson

R. Carter inquired about the permitting process that would allow her to open a coffee shop with outdoor seating, and possible indoor seating at the above location.

D. Seidman inquired if she had spoken with the property owner about the zoning restrictions on the property. R. Carter understood that it had to be water related. L. Peak clarified that the use had to be water-dependent.

L. Peak further noted that the Board had recommended moving the building forward on the lot at the time the owners were renovating the structure. They also discussed the possibility of relaxing the restrictions, but have not pursued any amendments.

R. Carter inquired if she could pursue a zoning bylaw amendment. L. Peak replied in the affirmative, and explained the process the state statutes required for bylaw amendments. She was advised that she had to initiate the process via a petition that the Town Clerk’s Office provided. J. Hillary Conklin, the Town Clerk would inform her of the procedure, the number of signature, etc.

R. Carter asked about the application process for a water dependent use. L. Peak referred R. Carter to section 06.06.00 of the Tisbury Zoning Bylaw for the list of permitted and special permitted uses. He explained that the regulations were designed to be restrictive in order to protect the low margin uses (aquaculture, boatyards, tugboats) that were often displaced by the higher margin commercial industries.

M. Adleman inquired about the time frame to amend a zoning regulation in town. D. Seidman indicated that it could be approximately six months to a year.  He nonetheless encouraged R. Carter to pursue the zoning bylaw amendment and offered the Board’s assistance.


1. Cheryl Doble, Planning Board Members
RE: Community Visioning Process

C. Doble informed the Board that she had worked on projects involving a community visioning process with her student for ten years, and prepared a power point presentation with examples of the process for both small rural communities and cities.  In last couple of years, she’s worked with the New York Department of State, who has made the visioning process a requirement for all government funded (grant)~projects. ~Developers were required to demonstrate that they conducted some sort of participatory community planning process to lay the groundwork and to encourage the community to commit to the project.

C. Doble explained the term “Visioning Planning as a participatory process that was open to the entire community and stake holders~via a series of sessions and activities to uncover the values that were held in common to explore alternatives of ways to move forward on a vision plan”.  The Vision Plan consisted of a vision statement, goals and strategic actions to achieve each of the goals.

L. Peak asked C. Doble to explain the difference between a community and stake holders. C. Doble replied that the community consisted of town residents, while the stake holders included non-resident business owners, and elected officials. The latter were just as important to the process, because the objective was to build a wide range of support to achieve their goals.

C. Doble explained that the process is conducted through community workshops, and working sessions, involving clearly structured activities to encourage constructive dialogue, answer questions, explore idea, etc.

C. Doble noted that there were essential elements in the conduct of the process. She indicated that it had to be “anchored in place”, or held in an appropriate place, so that the issues, the makeup of the community, and challenges would be different and unique to the place.  The workshop and activities had to be designed for the community. It also established a place for dialogue where people could share ideas, listen to different points of view and learn from others. The process was basically structured to help people get their ideas out in a comfortable environment. If done properly, the community would more than likely support a project if they hear and see their voice in the ideas brought forward.

C. Doble mentioned that the process contributed to the development of local leadership, uncovered new resources, and created an educated and informed public about the various issues.

C. Doble referred to the power point presentation illustrating the sequence of the process she and her students employed for various projects.  In the first session the activities were structured to uncover the communities’ values. The students summarized and analyzed the information and brought a draft vision plan to the community for the second session, which is edited at the meeting.  They refined the plan to look into alternatives, explored those alternatives with the community and continued the sessions to refine the plan. The students then worked on breaking elements of the plan into projects, and assigning them to members of the community to help find funding, develop policies or guidelines, propose zoning bylaw amendments, etc.  A number of communities then use the document to seek funding for various projects.

Discussions ensued with regards to the difference between a vision plan and a master plan, the state’s requirement for a master plan, and the fact that the zoning regulations did not have to mirror the master plan’s goals.  D. Seidman understood, but felt the vision plan would impact their zoning regulations because it was “a process by which a community envisions the future it wants, and plans how to achieve it. Through public involvement, communities identify their purpose, core values and vision of the future, which are then transformed into a manageable and feasible set of community goals and an action plan”. 1  He felt the zoning bylaw amendments would be part of the action plan, that corresponded with the goals.

C. Doble indicated that they utilized maps, photo images, and walking tours for their activities to spark an interest and dialogue on various issues, and discussed the use of “mapping sacred places” in which participants were asked to list all of the places that were important to them, the least attractive, etc.  In another instance participants were given digital cameras to photograph an image that exemplified their neighborhood, etc., which were analyzed and posted at the local library for public comment.  Computer modeling, simulations were other examples that were presented and discussed. C. Doble noted that it allowed people to understand the dynamics of the issues and constraints they had to address in order to solve the problems.

She noted that it was important to communicate their findings with the community, and explained how in one project, her students generated inserts (planning report) that were mailed out with the water bills, and in the local newspaper.  The town’s website was another resource , but that other media had to be utilized to communicate with residents who did not have computers.  

C. Doble felt the success of the vision planning process relied on well-designed activities,   excellent facilitation and good recording. The participants had to feel that their contribution was going to impact and improve the community. In order to reach as many people as possible, they had to conduct multiple work sessions and in different times of the day, including mornings, afternoons, and weekends. The Planning Board in addition had to solicit the support and assistance of the Board of Selectmen and of others with the organization of the process.

They had to discuss the development of their workshops, the questions they wanted answered and the activities that would help them acquire the information. The Board had to decide on the date for the first workshop, taking into consideration that the summer months on the island were busy for everyone.  She was advised that the Board had to give the summer residents an opportunity to participate, so that the Board might consider a session in the summer.  D. Seidman concurred.  She thought they could have their first session in August, and prepare a summary report for another session in September.

As they were just suggestions, C. Doble wanted the Board to understand the commitment they had to make before they embarked on this project, and the time they needed to invest to complete the process. Whereas she was willing to take the lead on this project, she did not want to pursue it without their support.

L. Peak asked C. Doble is she had the opportunity to review the Board’s master plan survey and to determine if some of the questions could be revisited for this process. C. Doble replied in the affirmative and some could be used to launch the new process.

C. Doble thought the first order of business was to solicit help from various organizations (MV Commission, Historic Commission ) to create a core committee to manage the logistics, and free her to coordinate outreach and set up venues for the work sessions.

D. Seidman suggested the use of the YMCA for a venue.  C. Doble recalled using the facility for school related functions, and thought it was a good alternative.  J. Thompson thought they might inaugurate the project at the Tisbury Fair. He recommended reserving space at the fair and asking people to fill out a survey. D. Seidman and C. Doble thought they could have an introductory survey.  L. Peak thought it important to inform the Board of Selectmen of their plans, and to solicit their input.  

C. Doble hoped to get the core group together by early July so that they could develop the workshops by the end of the month, and initiate the process in August.  L. Peak recalled that the MV Commission engaged in a similar process for the Island Master Plan, and could offer assistance.  She was familiar with the process, and had some of her students assist the MV Commission on the project. The comment she heard was that the process was too long. The remedy was stay focused and on a timeline to keep people engaged.

C. Doble redirected the discussions and asked the Board if they wanted to inaugurate the visioning process independently, with other participants, or solicit participants via their survey at the Street Fair.  D. Seidman wanted to solicit volunteers from the participants, draft a letter to town boards informing them about their project and soliciting their assistance.  L. Peak recommended keeping the survey to two (2) very simple questions (i.e. what expresses Tisbury, what building expresses Tisbury, etc.).  C. Doble understood and offered to draft the survey for the Board’s review on 25 June 2014.

H. Lee was familiar with the visioning process from personal experience, and thought the process was flawed, because it was his observation that people in general did not know how to participate. The lack of knowledge or preparation placed participants in a difficult position to voice an opinion on a topic they had not given much thought to.  He thought the Planning Board should invite planning professionals to develop a broad based, general survey to disseminate to a targeted group of participants, so that the information could be analyzed to create a specific survey.  He explained that it was the standard process for the larger communities and cities.

H. Lee indicated that it was common practice to have the planning professionals  generate a preliminary master plan for the community to review and refine over a series of sessions before it is given to another master planning consultant, who then offers the community alternative proposals.

C. Doble acknowledged H. Lee’s recommendation, but believed that the community should have a voice early on in the process. The process was not intended to have the participants discuss the specifics of a particular issue. It wasdesigned to give the community the opportunity to set the framework, in order to discuss  how they viewed the town, and what they wanted to change or preserve.  They needed to hear from the community before they approached a professional consultant(s) to do the design work.

H. Lee recounted his experience as both a member on the parking lot committee and as a concerned town resident, when he reached out to the community about Stop & Shop’s proposal. He claimed that 99% of the individuals he contacted were disinterested in the proposal’s impact to the visual character, traffic, etc. He stated that his contacts were in their 30s, and all but one was content to see the project move forward.

D. Seidman clarified that the visioning process started with the community. They were not guiding, or dictating anything to the participants, because they were simply trying to ask the community to share their opinions about the town before they sought the professional consultants.

H. Lee did not understand the Board’s adverse reaction to his suggestion for the use of a professional, when he, C. Doble, H. Stephenson were all professionals and members of the same community.  The development of the preliminary survey required the use of a professional.  C. Doble agreed.  B. Robinson clarified that it was also part of the workshop process which was intended the community a voice.

H. Lee indicated that the booth at the Street Fair, the newspaper articles should come after the first workshop.  L. Peak noted that the materials and short survey were intended to introduce the proposed planning initiative. C. Doble added that it was intended to gather an initial comment from the residents, and to give people an opportunity to let the Planning Board know if they wanted to have a more active role.

M. Larsen thought it was important give the community a voice in the process, if they wanted the community to commit to the process and support their recommendations (action plans).  

H. Lee recommended the use of banners at primary locations, signs at the local grocery stores, and links in the town’s website to reach as many people as possible. He thought they should post the preliminary survey and maintain the information on site in chronological order so that people can follow the project’s progress, similar to the Town of Nantucket’s Planning Board’s website.  C. Doble agreed that the outreach piece was the most crucial component to the planning initiative and thought H. Lee raised excellent suggestions.

2. Board of Selectmen
RE: Joint meeting to appoint Associate Planning Board Member, zoning issues~

·       C. Doble attended the Board of Selectmen’s meeting on June 14, 2014 in which they discussed their mission statement, core values and high priority goals for next two years.

In discussions about their mid and long term strategic issues and on-going initiatives, the Selectmen stressed the importance of working collaboratively, being transparent, and accountable to the town residents.

D. Seidman thought the Board should attend the Board of Selectmen’s meetings to keep abreast of municipal projects and maintain some communication with them . C. Doble thought they should alternate. D. Seidman agreed and recommended once a month. C. Doble concurred, noting that they could also correspond or schedule appointments when necessary.

D. Seidman asked the board secretary for the Board of Selectmen’ meeting schedule, so that the board members can sign up for the meetings to attend.

·       The board secretary in an email to the town administrator confirmed that the Board agreed to meet at 5:30 PM on July 9 to discuss their recommendations for the B1 District, and to participate in the interview process with the two applicants for the position of Planning Board Associate Member.


1.~ Island Housing Trust
RE: 6 Water Street (Plans)

D. Seidman reported that the building was modified and not as tall (34’6” to 31’) or narrow as in the initial proposal. The revisions were the result of the IHT’s discussions with the Building Inspector who was concerned about the total number of units on the property.  IHT is proposing a total of six (6) one-bedroom units.

He suspected that the floor plans were final, but that the exterior plan may undergo additional revisions.  C. Doble recalled that IHT’s board members were not content with the windows and other exterior details. She did not  like the narrow walkway or the boardwalk.

It was her impression that they could alter the grades to cut back on the ramps, and allow for some stairs. D. Seidman concurred, noting that people were concerned about the privacy issues when people walked past the tenants’ windows.

H. Lee understood and agreed with the Board’s recommendations about using the landscape to raise the grade to the landing so that they could eliminate the boardwalk. It concerned him that the design did very little to create a sense of community among the six units or to employ the architectural style they wanted to encourage.

D. Seidman mentioned that the design was displayed publically and opened for discussion in a charette. The comments they received basically indicated that they were in favor of the current design. It was IHT’s opinion that the benefits outweighed the shortcomings of the architectural design.  He also assured H. Lee that his recommendations were referred to the architect and IHT’s board.

H. Lee found the design awkward and thought it should be discouraged. He explained that the design would compromise the tenant’s quality of life. It segregated the residents, by failing to provide common areas for the tenants.

The board inquired about the size of the units. D. Seidman replied that each of the units were 600 sq. ft.(including bathrooms and halls). H. Lee noted that the studio and one-bedroom units were smaller in the cities. D. Seidman noted that the size of the units had to meet the minimum requirements of the funding source, and could not deviate from the state’s requirement. B. Robinson inquired about the scale, and questioned whether the units were accurately depicted. D. Seidman measured the units at the scale listed on the plan and verified that the units were 25’X24’.   B. Robinson inquired about the impetus for the angled wall, and questioned the legality of the door that swung less than ninety degrees was up to code. C. Doble and D. Seidman could not respond. C. Doble noted that the door struck the wall before it opened at ninety degrees.

C. Doble informed the Board that the design was referred to the MV Commission, and was being discussed at the LUPC meeting on Monday. She understood that the LUPC was going to recommend to the Commissioners to review the project as a DRI due to the intensity of use.

2. Tisbury Marketplace Board of Trustees
RE: In opposition to the proposal (82 seats)

D. Reece, Chairman of the Tisbury Marketplace’s Board of Trustees sent an email to the Planning Board opposing R. Dunn’s special permit application for an increase in seating capacity from 44 to 82 due to the issues they were experiencing with the traffic and shortage in parking.  He asked the Board to limit the applicant to the application for 77 seats.

The Planning Board was advised that D. Reece had subsequently issued another email indicating that he wanted to withdraw his letter. Board members inquired about protocol. L. Peak recommended contacting D. Reece to write the Board a letter stating he wanted to withdraw his initial letter.

Board members were informed that the board secretary was awaiting calls from the Secretary of State, and the Attorney General’s Office (Open Meeting Department) for information about standard practice for returning public documents.

3. Paul Wohler, TWW Superintendent
RE: 123 Greenwood Ave Subdivision (request for hydrant)

4. Tisbury Board of Health
RE: 123 Greenwood Ave. –  Request for a monitoring well

5. Martha’s Vineyard Commission
A. June 2014 MVC Newsletter
B. 13 June 2014 Extended Schedule
C.19 June 2014 Meeting Agenda

6. Reuter-Thomson
A. 10 May 2014 Zoning Bulletin
B. 25 May 2014 Zoning Bulletin

7. Tisbury Finance & Advisory Committee
A. Annual Appointments – Site Plan Review Board (L. Gomez)
B. Melinda Loberg’s resignation to the Site Plan Review Board

PRO FORM        Meeting opened, conducted and closed in due form at 9:15 P.M.   (m/s/c  4/0/0)          
Respectfully submitted;
Patricia V. Harris, Secretary

APPROVAL:       Approved and accepted as official minutes;

______________          _________________________
Date                    Daniel Seidman