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Planning Board Minutes 05/07/14

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


DATE:           May 7, 2014
TIME:                   7:06 PM

PLACE:          Town Hall Annex

ATTENDANCE:     Aldrin, Peak, Seidman, Stephenson, Thompson

BILLS:          APA/CPTC(Workshop)…………….$30.00

MINUTES:                As referred in the, 2013 Meeting Agenda
                        02 April 2014           m/s/c   5/0/0
16 April 2014           m/s/c   5/0/0
30 April 2014           m/s/c   5/0/0


7:05 PM Craig Whittaker Re: Preserving Island Roads

C. Whittaker, an architect by profession indicated that he has been visiting the island ever since the 1970s. In his profession as an architect he has worked with engineers on large scaled projects in New York City and wanted to bring to their attention a project he’s been working on for the Vineyard.

C. Whittaker noted that he has watched over the years with increasing dismay the changes that have been occurring on island, such as the improvements on Edgartownn-Vineyard Haven Road. On heading home from the movie theater on Beach Road, he noticed a sea of lights and assumed that it was an accident.  As he approached the lights, he realized that they were reflector lights. He counted them. There were a total of 14 reflector lights just before reaching the bridge on Beach Road.

C. Whittaker observed that people in general were expressing disapproval of the improvements in downtown Oak Bluffs against the “new urbanism”.  Comments about the recent activity on Edgartown road led him to believe that it was important to take a more proactive approach to the situation. If they wanted to take charge of their roads, they had to develop “a road manual” for the Vineyard, and sell it to the local office of the Mass DOT i.e. District 5.

C. Whittaker brought this to the attention of a donor, who offered a modest amount of funds, which were surrendered to the organization known as Projects for Public Spaces. He asked them for a list of the localities that have studied and developed literature on topics impacting their communities, i.e. economics, and tourism.  Once he obtained the information, C. Whittaker created a slide show from the information, and at the suggestion of others, began promoting  his proposal to the All Island Board of Selectmen.  The reception was positive and encouraging. Town rrepresentatives at the meeting sent letters to the MV Commission asking them to assist him with the project.  The letters secured him a meeting with the MV Commissioners, who referred him to the Planning & Economic Committee (PED).

Nine meetings later with the PED, C. Whittaker finally met with the full Commission to obtain their endorsement. C. Whittaker presented an abridged form of the slide show he had prepared for the MV Commission, illustrating various roadsides on the Vineyard. The assortment of roadsides depicted in the slide show ranged from the roads that were once typical of the island with beautiful roadscapes and roads in various stages of repair, improvement or upgrade. Board members observed roads with and without galvanized barriers, Cape Cod berms, state issue street signs, the Tashmoo Overlook, and the mounting number of telephone poles. C. Whittaker contacted District 5 about the Edgartown Road and other issues and found them to be rigid and inflexible. Board members viewed slides of the Edgartown- Vineyard Haven Road, in which the most benign section lacked a vegetative screen, and a barrier between the bike path and the road. The MV Commissioners on viewing similar slides expressed an interest in the sudden proliferation of fences along Edgartown Road. He explained that people were erecting fences to muffle the noise from the traffic and to block their views from a road that looked like a stripped highway.  

C. Whittaker provided slides of San Juan Island to illustrate that changes could be made in concert with the Departments of Transportation. They had a design guide or manual to protect their roads. The Town of Nantucket recently took advantage of stimulus money from the state to construct 10 ft wide lanes (Milestone Road) with grass shoulders right up to the edge and a bike path.  C. Whittaker thought the national parks provided the best models or design criteria for roads, and illustrated a few examples from Yellowstone National Park, Zion National Park, Sequoia National Park and Acadia. He found that the national park service did not want to utilize the existing classification system for their roads, because the roads were viewed as part of the park’s landscape.

C. Whittaker urged the MV Commission to start a library of all of the places in the United States where they’ve successfully negotiated different road design standards with the DOT, and to generate a Request for Qualifications to solicit the assistance from civil engineers with planning experience and experience in writing manuals. He also recommended that they contact their elected representatives for political support and assistance in dealing with Mass DOT in Boston.

Board members were advised that all of the transportation funds are funneled through the MV Commission. The Commission’s Joint Transportation Committee was responsible for selecting the projects to be funded. In the last couple of years, the state transportation implementation (STIP) funds were spent almost exclusively in the Town of Oak Bluffs, simply because they requested the funds first.  C. Whittaker believed the process was politically driven.  

C. Whittaker understood that the STIP funds were not permitted for planning projects, such as the development of the manual. He therefore suggested treating the project as a demonstration or experiment, and thought they could explore alternative design guidelines for the Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road. He wanted to illustrate different types of signage, lighting, and barriers and discuss the design features they could incorporate into the manual.  C. Whittaker thought the Tashmoo Overlook could be another site they could study, second to the Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road, because it was just as unattractive.

Presently he and Jay Grande were appointed by the Board of Selectmen to a subcommittee of two, called the Saving Rural Roads Committee for the sole purpose of developing a manual.

H. Stephenson inquired if he thought the Connector Road was a good idea.  C. Whittaker replied in the affirmative, indicating that it was a good and solid idea. The problem with the project was that it was based around public property and land acquisitions, as opposed to good design standards, which did not make sense.  H. Stephenson believed it could be modified and re-designed to meet certain standards.

L. Peak informed C. Whittaker that the Planning Board met with M. London, C. Barnes, J. Hancock, W. Veno for a presentation on Scenic Roads and a preliminary discussion on tonight’s subject. He agreed with many of C. Whittaker’s principles, and understood his frustration with the DOT, having had a similar experience in his conversations with the department.  He asked C. Whittaker if the purpose for the presentation was to solicit their support and participation in the political process. C. Whittaker explained that he had scheduled an appointment with the Planning Board to inform them about the subcommittee, their mandate and of two potential projects, one of which included the repaving of Edgartown Road. If they could get Edgartown, and Oak Bluffs to participate in a joint venture to improve the entire road from Edgartown to Vineyard Haven they would be able to designate the road as a scenic byway, which would make them eligible for certain funding.

C. Whittaker learned that the Surface Transportation Act (Map 21) reorganized their classifications and conflated the federal national scenic byways funds with a broader set of projects. They allotted a total of 832 million dollars this year alone for stimulus money.

H. Stephenson noticed that many of the examples in the presentation could have been done and maintained by the local Department of Public Works (DPW) if they had the right standards in place. It would be less expensive. C. Whittaker concurred but thought the policy and manual had to be established first.  

Discussions ensued with regards to the telephones, the possibility of burying them underground, and the costs. C. Whittaker thought it was a very expensive proposition, and recommended an inexpensive alternative, such as hiding the poles with plantings. He thought it was important to have the local landscapers take a course in arbor culture so that the work stayed on island.

C. Whittaker did not feel confident in the MV Commission’s ability to move the project forward, given that they did not implement their Island Wide Master Plan (2010).  He thought they would accomplish more if they relied on the town’s DPW to measure the actual widths of the pavements. He explained that the data was necessary for the engineering drawings they needed to get Vineyard Haven- Edgartown Road done, and to calculate the cost for the improvements. The cost analysis would allow them to obtain a magnitude cost for any other road on the island.

L. Peak thanked C. Whittaker for the presentation. C. Whittaker offered to update the Planning Board periodically to keep them informed of his progress.

H. Lee inquired if the project was going to be a multi-town venture. C. Whittaker did not think it would be appropriate to dictate their vision onto the other towns. For the present it was going to remain local.

7:35 PM MV Preservation Trust (No Show)

D. Seidman indicated that he wanted to meet with a member(s) of the MV Preservation Trust to solicit information they could use to fund the relocation, renovation and management of the Caleb Prouty, since they’ve worked on several similar projects.

D. Seidman offered to call MV Preservation Trust or approach one of the trustees to schedule a meeting.

1.  Town Meeting
RE: Recap of Planning Board’s zoning regulations

Board members were advised that the topic was placed on the agenda to give them an opportunity to discuss the outcome of town meeting or any future endeavors they might want to pursue as a result of town meeting.

For the members that were unable to attending the town meeting, he noted that all of the bylaw amendments were passed except for the amendments they had proposed in Section 04.05 (R3A) and 04.07 .07 (Deep Lot).

D. Seidman noted that the town did not raise an issue with the 50 ft. distance requirement for the Medical Marijuana Dispensary.    

L. Peak recalled someone requested a restriction on the advertisement of the product.   He explained that they could not enforce such a restriction without violating the first amendment.  D. Seidman agreed, adding that any restriction would more than likely originate from the federal branch of government.

D. Seidman inquired about the funds for the planning consultant. L. Peak replied that the town voted in favor of the $7,000.00 increase in their budget.

2. Stop & Shop
RE: MV Commission’s hearing on May 3, 2014

L. Peak advised the Board that the applicant was referred to the Land Use Planning Committee (LUPC) and will be reviewed by the committee members on May 13, 2014 at 5:30PM.

L. Peak informed H. Lee that he reviewed the videotaped session he had sent him and was confused about the discussion they held relative to limiting the number of Commissioners at the LUPC meeting on May 13th. D. Seidman questioned whether they could legally prevent committee members from attending an open session.

L. Peak understood that any of the Commissioners had the right to attend.  The one exception could be that they would have a quorum at the LUPC meeting if everyone in attendance at the hearing were present. H. Lee understood that it would be a breach of the open meeting law.   If every member present at the hearing attended, L. Peak believed the  notice would have to be posted as a meeting of the MV Commission, otherwise it would violate the open meeting law.

D. Hodsdon noted that written testimony was still being accepted until tomorrow, May 8, 2014.  L. Peak never understood the MV Commission’s procedural process, because the local boards could accept new information once the public hearing was closed.

L. Peak also understood that the Board of Selectmen ‘s last evening created a bit of a stir, when Harriet Barrows and others attended the meeting to discuss the Memorandum of Understanding were informed at the conclusion of the Selectmen’s meeting that the topic had been removed from the agenda because they decided not to discuss the topic.

L. Peak noted that H. Barrows and others present at the meeting were upset with the Selectmen, when they invited them to come for the discussion at a previous meeting.  Board members agreed that it was disrespectful, discourteous, and unbecoming of elected town officials.  Their behavior impacted the town’s impression of their municipal government.

H. Lee brought to the Planning Board’s attention that the boundaries for Cromwell Lane on the applicant’s plan were incorrect. He was concerned that the information was being presented as factual, because of its impact on the abutters.  

L. Peak thought they had to read the deed descriptions of the abutters to know for certain about the road’s boundaries, and the exact nature of the abutter’s rights of travel over the road.

H. Lee noted that Schofield, Barbini & Hoehn’s survey did not have correct information, which concerned him, because it was being circulated and used by other surveyors.  L. Peak offered to speak with Douglas Hoehn to inquire if his firm actually surveying the road or obtained the information from another source.

3. Larry Gomez, Finance & Advisory Committee

D. Seidman recently learned that L. Gomez’ wife, Kathy Stinson passed away from cancer, and thought the Planning Board should send their condolences.  L. Peak asked board members to drop by the office to sign the card.

4. Tisbury Water Department

Board members were informed that the Water Department had withdrawn their article for one million dollars to build a garage and office across the street from their current location. L. Peak indicated that he had approached the superintendent to express his concern with the driveway. He explained that they had designed the driveway on the steep embankment. He thought a safer alternative was to construct the driveway through Heath Hen Lane when they would avoid the traffic.

H. Stephenson was happy to hear that they were thinking of moving their operations to another location and vacating the building so that they could utilize the entire property as a park.  On the other hand, he did not want to see the roadscape on West Spring Street erode with the construction of a large metal building, and thought they should discuss other alternatives, such as High Point Lane, which seemed much more suited to their operations. He did not see why they could not work with the Department of Public Works (DPW).  D. Seidman concurred. He thought they should collocate with the DPW on Hines Point Lane.


1.  Tisbury Zoning Board of Appeals
A. Public Hearing Notice – Jennifer Oliver, AP 07F03 (outdoor food service)
B. Public Hearing Notice – Steve Bernier, AP 23A23+ (outside display)
C. Public Hearing Notice – Jennifer Oliver, AP 07F03 (outside display)
D. Public Hearing Notice – Michael Panagakos, AP 08N24 (variance/frontage requirement)
E. Public Hearing Notice – Matthew Tobin, AP 39B02.131 (outside display)
F. Special Permit  # 2171 – David Maddox. AP 26A01
G. Special Permit # 2175 – William Bruno, AP 05G02.1
H. Special Permit # 2178 – Michael McLaughlin, AP 11A04
I.  Special Permit  # 2179 – Xerxes Aghassipour, AP 08P16
J. Special Permit   #2181 – Kate Shanor, AP 07F17.1

2. Massachusetts Municipal Association
A. Open Meeting Law Trainings (you tube and
B. Marijuana presents legal issues locally (host community agreements)

3. MV Commission
RE: 02 May 2014 Extended Schedule

4. Reuter – Thomson
RE: Zoning Bulletin, 10 April 2014


1.  Hearing Notices
A. June 4, 2014 @ 7:00P – Richard Paradise, MV Film Society, AP 09B18
B. June 4, 2014 @ 7:30P – Joelson Cardoso & Welliton Olviera dba Tropical LLC, AP09C01
C .June 4, 2014 @ 8:00P – Richard Dubin Tr., AP 26D18.1

2. Martha’s Vineyard Commission
RE: Stop & Shop’s proposal

PRO FORM        Meeting opened, conducted and closed in due form at 9:50 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