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Planning Board Minutes 09/24/2014

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


DATE:           September 24, 2014
TIME:           7:00  PM

PLACE:          Town Hall Annex

BILLS:          WB Mason………………...…$186.50
                        WB Mason…………………….. $3.99
                        Vineyard Gazette……………..$106.00
                        Advanced Printers…………….$ 92.37

MINUTES:                As referred in the September 17, 2014 Meeting Agenda


7 PM    RM Packer, Phil Hale, R. Dunn re: Beach Road
        Attendance: ME Larsen, J. Grande, M. Loberg

D. Seidman mentioned that he had invited property owners and other stake holders within the two aforementioned zoning districts to solicit their thoughts about general topics pertaining to zoning, attracting business, a working waterfront, etc.

P. Hale initiated the discussions stating that they had to lower the rents to attract more business. Lower taxes led to lower taxes, and he doubted the town would consider the possibility. L. Peak indicated that it was a topic he wanted to discuss with the Board of Assessors. He thought the assessments should reflect the fact that the properties were severely restricted. P. Hale commented that there were other assessments they had to pay, such as the sewer fees.~

R. Dunn believed the zoning regulations were impractical and draconian. He did not think property owners should be forced to comply with the town’s vision, if it did not benefit the applicant economically. He understood the town’s objective for adopting the regulation, but he did not see how the regulation would foster water-related or water-dependent uses, without meeting the stakeholders halfway.

R. Dunn described the Waterfront Commercial District regulations as unrealistic, because applicants were not allowed to provide parking for their developments. R. Dunn indicated that the regulation had not proven itself since its adoption, the past twenty years.  L.

Peak disagreed and sited a few examples. He added that the regulation allowed a minimum of parking for well documented reasons, such as traffic.

R. Packer mentioned that he had only recently met with the town to discuss the $100,000.00 betterment fee for the sewer system for a building that was used only 3 months out of year. He felt people had to understand that they were part of the supply chain to the Vineyard. His company provided essential materials to the Vineyard, such as petroleum and building materials (asphalt, concrete, etc.). He tried looking into the possibility of operating a marina, but did not have sufficient dock space. He then decided to cultivate a working relationship with the cruise lines (American Star), and has had several cruise ships docking on his property the past couple of summers. Given the number of large vessel, he will have to dredge the area around the dock and replace the ramps.~ He was concerned that the town has not invested in the sidewalks on Beach Road because vacationers have complained about their condition. He thought they were deplorable, and a safety hazard. P. Hale concurred.

R. Packer advised the Board that the cruise ships purchased a number of supplies; including seafood from the Vineyard, as did their patrons, and continues to actively pursue cruise line programs to bring more cruise ships to the Vineyard.

D. Reece, by profession was interested in development, and suggested revising the bylaws to encourage more development (i.e. restaurants, retail shops) along the waterfront. He thought it was important to provide access to the harbor front, and to provide products and services. He questioned the town’s logic in leasing the parking spaces at the old fire station site, when there was a high demand for parking in town.

J. Grande noted that the Board of Selectmen at town meeting agreed to utilize the lot for parking on an interim basis,~ until such time a planning process was initiated to determine its final disposition. For the present the Board of Selectmen were leasing twenty parking spaces on an annual basis, and not making any permanent changes to the property.

D. Seidman inquired if R. Packer and P. Hale had the opportunity to think about the types of water related or water dependent uses that would benefit either of their businesses. P. Hale did not see an issue allowing restaurants, and retail stores in the Waterfront Commercial District.~ He wanted to have a marina on the south side of Beach Road, but questioned whether the town would allow the use. The same reservation applied to having a dock.~ J. Thompson questioned if the restrictions were local, because the issues were governed by the state.~ P. Hale replied that it involved the shellfish department, due to the scallops.

From a broader perspective, R. Packer indicated that the working harbor fronts of New England had all but disappeared, except for the one in New Bedford and Vineyard Haven.~ The problem areas had more to do with the sidewalks, cross walks, signage and speed on Beach Road.~ He added that on many occasions, he has offered the town

easements on property abutting Beach Road for the purpose of installing the power lines underground. He felt it was something they could do right away and should do to accommodate and protect the visitors and islanders that walk the area.~

J. Grande asked R. Packer if the above ground utilities from Winds Up to the bridge were necessary.~ R. Packer replied that the pole line going to the bridge feed the motors that open the bridge. D. Seidman understood that the transformers could not be underground because of the possibility of an inundation. R. Packer indicated that he had constructed an elevated pad behind the marine railway to accommodate a transformer, so that transformers on Beach Road could be easily relocated. D. Seidman acknowledged.

Additional discussion ensued with this regard, and R. Dunn believed restaurants and apartments were compatible with a working harbor front, particularly within the vicinity of the boatyards to see their operations. D. Seidman understood, noting that each town had their particular selling points, such as the cottages in Oak Bluffs, and the mansions in Edgartown. Vineyard Haven had its working harbor front. He did not think they were selling that feature. If people wanted to change the regulation, the public had to support the amendment. It required a concerted effort.

C. Doble understood that the intent for the regulation was to protect the businesses in the working harbor front from competing with businesses that operated at a~higher profit margin. She asked R. Dunn to explain how they would be able to accomplish the same outcome, if they were to dismantle the regulation. R. Dunn suggested revising the regulation so that a percentage (i.e. 25%-50%) of the property had to be water dependent or water related. It would protect businesses like Benjamin & Gannon. D. Seidman noticed that some harbors required water dependent or related uses on the first floor and low traffic generating commercial uses on the second floor.~ He questioned whether a similar arrangement would work in Vineyard Haven.

R. Packer thought they may have “shot themselves in the foot” when they decided to adopt the regulations, because in doing so they restricted themselves and devalued their properties. On the other hand, they have protected the shipyard, lumberyard, paint store, etc., all which were important to a working harbor front.~ R. Dunn questioned if the lumber yard or paint store would be allowed under the current regulation. It was noted that the Ace Hardware store was within the Commercial Management Area of the district and permitted.

D. Seidman indicated that would have condominium apartments in the district, if they did not have any restrictions in place. He asked the stakeholder if that was acceptable. R. Packer believed the harbor front would be overrun with condos and apartments. D. Seidman thought the district could have a few restaurants, without impacting the existing businesses negatively. J. Thompson inquired if they’ve considered tax abatements for marine related businesses. D. Seidman noted that it was one of the first suggestions raised during the discussions.

P. Hale thought R. Dunn raised an interesting point pertaining to the use of percentages. He thought it would allow them to have mixed uses. R. Dunn reiterated that the regulation was too restrictive when it came to parking. The limitation was unrealistic and impractical.

J. Grande noted that he had worked at a designated port area in Gloucester. It was one of the four most industrial harbor fronts, and had very active fishing fleets. They had a state fish pier and large cold storage facilities. And while it was a working harbor, it co-existed with other non-marine related businesses such as restaurants.~ He was not aware that Vineyard Have ever had a dedicated fish pier.~ R. Packer noted that when the fish dock was operating in Vineyard Haven, the town was ranked third in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for the number of fish landings, second to Boston. New Bedford ranked first.

J. Grande noted that Gloucester faced the same challenge, even though it operated at a much larger scale. He thought Rockport was much more similar in scale to Vineyard Haven with a year round community of 4000. Rockport had an artist colony, restaurants and an active lobstering group in addition to more tourist related venues. R. Dunn recommended looking at Camden ME and Marion MA.

C. Doble asked J. Grande to explain the strategies he utilized in Gloucester. J. Grande explained that the designated port area was created through a cooperative effort between the Planning Board, the Coastal Zone Management Dept. and the tourist related businesses. They had to apply for a Chapter 91 License to acquire public access easements or incorporate public access into the permitting process.~ It allowed many of the businesses to renovate and expand. J. Grande added that they town also commissioned a blue ribbon committee to work out a five year business plan with all of the stakeholders that essentially served as a blueprint for the decision making.

M. Loberg noted that they had many elements of a working harbor front in place (i.e. fish processing plant, a boat builder, and the beginnings of a boat museum) and a designated cultural center.~ The harbor had much potential.

Discussions ensued with regards to incentives, 61A designation, the exchange or sale of development rights. C. Doble thought the primary issue was to figure out the right balance between the water related uses and commercial uses, in consideration of the taxes and land values, etc.

B. Robinson wondered how much more development was possible on Beach Road. If they did not have a solution for the current situation, why would they consider additional development? R. Dunn did not think it was fair to hold the property owners responsible for solving the town’s traffic issues. L. Peak believed the property owners new the conditions when they acquired the property.

R. Packer thought it was important to distinguish between town and private property.~ He felt the town had to think about their own property, such as Beach Street Extension. Tourists from around the world visited the island, only to see a pile of boulders and a drain pipe at the end of Beach Street Ext. He thought the town could eliminate the eyesore by constructing a promenade at the end of the road.

ME Larsen inquired if the town had heard from E. Boch, Jr. D. Seidman understood that he wanted to demolish the building. R. Dunn advised the Board that it would expose the side wall of Mr. Anderson’s building, and make the area appear worse.

There being no further discussion, D. Seidman thanked everyone for their suggestions, noting that tonight’s discussions was the first of others to come on related topics.

L. Peak noted that they did not have any discussions about Business District 1. He inquired if it was an oversight, or planned.  D. Seidman thought it appropriate to focus the discussions on Beach Road, when the only stakeholders to participate were from the Waterfront Commercial District.  He explained that he planned to hold similar meetings in the near future, in which the stakeholders in both business districts would be invited again.

1. Vision Planning
RE: Progress Report

C. Doble and B. Robinson have been scoping the venues to determine how they were going to setup the workshops. Both have worked on the materials for the workshop activities and facilitators, with whom they met on 09/22/14 for a training session.  

She solicited volunteers from the Board to serve as facilitators, since they were a few short for the first workshop on 09/30/14. C. Doble planned to contact friends to see if they would consider helping out as facilitators, otherwise they might not accomplish as much.

She asked Board members if they would pass out the invitations they printed listing the dates of the workshops. She forewarned them that it was time consuming job, in that she was spending an average of 5 -10 minutes to explain the concept, etc.  She was happy to report that people in general were very receptive.  It concerned her that they did not provide any accommodations for the people that were not proficient in the English language. She thought it was important to solicit the assistance of a translator. M. Loberg recommended having the written materials translated in Portuguese.  C. Doble concurred, but felt the translator(s) were necessary for the dialogue.

C. Doble indicated that she was following up on the food donations, which required a few phone calls and letters.  They were targeting the Black Dog, Cronigs, Stop-N-Shop, Little House Café and Scottish Bakehouse.

D. Seidman reported that the OPED was going into the newspapers tomorrow. C. Doble indicated that the MV Times had called her today to schedule an interview. The workshops were being advertised on MVY and MVTV’s calendars. The Vineyard Haven

Library sent out an email to all of their subscribers to invite them to the workshops.  C. Doble indicated that she needed help passing out the invitation cards, and asked if board members would be willing to join her for a couple of hours in front of Cronigs Market.

D. Reece inquired if anyone had approached the school to see if they could announce the workshops on the scrolling ad the teachers viewed on their PCs. ME Larsen recommended contacting the MV Savings Bank to see if they would consider advertising the workshops on their monitors.  L. Peak inquired if the Planning Board had attended any of the Board of Selectmen’s meetings, because they could use the opportunity to inform the public about the upcoming workshops.  C. Doble and D. Seidman replied in the affirmative.

The board secretary was assigned the task of following up on the food donations with calls and correspondence. M. Loberg offered to help passing out the invitations, and departed at 8:15 PM

2. Waterfront Commercial District/Business District I
RE: General discussions on zoning regulations, encouraging business, incentives, etc.

3. Dunn Family LLC
RE: Amendment of a Special Permit Decision

Board members were advised that the draft decision was not prepared. The deliberations were postponed until the following week.  

4. Beach Road

C Doble inquired if they were going to have a meeting or discussion on Beach Road, given that Mass DOT’s deadline is at the end this month. D. Seidman noted that it was to get a place marker for the end of 2017.

B. Robinson inquired if the Town had any oversight on Mass DOT’s proposed improvements. The Town did not own the road, so that it appeared that the state was approaching the town only as a courtesy.

D. Seidman agreed with R. Dunn’s comments about having the state use the funds earmarked for acquiring easements into the underground installation of the power lines. B. Robinson noted that the easements were not for the power lines, but the 1.5 ft. they needed for the bicycle lanes.  There was concern about the state’s commitment to replacing the vegetation.  C. Doble noted that they should expect some loss of vegetation due to the road construction. The discussions with the state should be about their re-establishment. They also had to discuss the construction of a shared use path on Beach Road to Lagoon Pond Road. L. Peak thought they should also discuss the installation of a conduit on Beach Road, if they were not prepared to install the power lines underground at this time.  

D. Seidman suggested holding a meeting on October 8, 2014 solely to discuss Mass DOT’s Beach Road improvements.  He thought they could invite the public on the Dept. of Transportation’s conceptual designs.  B. Robinson thought they would need a power point presentation or handouts if they were planning on holding an informational meeting.  D. Seidman believed they’ve left their power point presentation with the town.

C. Doble thought it was important to have a conversation with the business owners to understand their perspective, and additional meetings with the other stakeholders i.e. cyclists.  D. Seidman thought they could invite all of the businesses impacted by DOT’s proposal. She thought it would be beneficial to hear the different perspectives.  L. Peak thought it was just as important for everyone to hear the other perspectives.  C. Doble thought a larger audience would be harder to manage, and not particularly useful.

ME Larsen recommended contacting J. Lobdell to include the Harbor Management Committee in the discussions. D. Seidman offered to contact J. Lobdell.

L. Peak asked D. Seidman to clarify his purpose for holding discussions on DOT’s proposal. D. Seidman replied that it was intended to solicit the town’s views on the proposal. B. Robinson noted that the state was soliciting comments from the town. He felt it was important for the town to have some recommendations to offer. C. Doble thought the town should have a proposal they’d like the state to consider.

C. Doble questioned if there was a need for another informational meeting, if the town’s already sponsored three such meetings.  D. Seidman acknowledged, and thought they  could just offer the Planning Board’s thoughts and suggestions on the matter.

C. Doble recommended asking J. Grande if the Traffic Committee was going to be looking at Beach Road. D. Seidman thought they were focusing on Five Corners. B. Robinson heard they were looking at Union Street.  C. Doble thought they could also invite the property owners to meet with them to clarify what their reasons are for opposing any taking, and any solutions they may have. They could also schedule a second meeting with DOT’s representative.  L. Peak recalled that they’ve had applicants in the past agree to the grant a dormant easement.  They’d have to review past decisions.


1.  Coastal Engineering Company Inc.
RE: Public Notice - Chapter 91 License Application by the Town of Tisbury (Tashmoo)

2. Tisbury Conservation Commission
A. Public Hearing Notice – Mary Worrell, AP 15B17.4 (new footings for an existing deck)

3. Tisbury Zoning Board of Appeals
A. Public Hearing Notice – Cynthia Anderson and Elizabeth Rose, AP 11A17 (reconstruction of a pre-existing, non-conforming structure in the shore zone)
B. Public Hearing Notice – Stephen Perlman, AP 8O03 (additional room/lodging house)
C. Special Permit #2197 – Randal & Christine Essex, AP 05H01(Modification of height restriction)
D. Special Permit #2198 – William Fielding, AP 07F13 (food service operation/BI)
E. Special Permit #2199 – David Grain, AP 05F1.4+ (modification of height restriction, etc.)

4. MV Commission
A. 19 September 2014 Extended Schedule
B. Citizen Planner Training Collaborative- Fall 2014 Workshops

D. Seidman informed the Board that the CPTC was holding a workshop on Vested Rights and Non-conforming Uses on October 25, 2014 at 8:30A – 10:30PM at the MV Commission’s building in Oak Bluffs. He asked if members were interested in attending.

C. Doble, D. Reece, B. Robinson expressed an interest, as did D. Seidman.

D. Seidman informed the Board that he had spoken with B. Veno, at the MV Commission  to inquire about having additional workshops on island.

5. Thomson Reuters
RE: Zoning Bulletin, 25 August 2014

PRO FORM        Meeting opened, conducted and closed in due form at 9:15P.M.    (m/s/c  5/0/0)          
Respectfully submitted;
Patricia V. Harris, Secretary

APPROVAL:       Approved and accepted as official minutes;

______________  _________________________
Date            Daniel Seidman