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Planning Board Minutes 01/06/16


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


DATE:           January 6, 2016 
TIME:                   6:00 PM

ATTENDANCE:     Doble, Robinson and Seidman

PLACE:          Town Hall Annex, 66 High Point Lane

MINUTES:                As referred in the December 30, 2015 Meeting Agenda

6:00 PM         Dawn Bellante Holand re: Interview for Planning Board Vacancy
                Attendance: M. Loberg

D. Bellante Holand has been involved in quasi-public and private community based organizations and looking forward to an opportunity to serve on a local town board. Her interest in planning was piqued by the public review of Stop-N-Shop’s proposal. The MV Commission’s discussions demonstrated to her that it was extremely important to participate in the public process to learn not only about the project, but the town’s vulnerabilities. She thought the process highlighted the importance of having good planning, and sound regulations.  

She noted that it was important to take into consideration the economic picture of the island and local community in their policies, and believed to have a good understanding of this concept having worked with many island businesses and organizations as manager of MVOL for eight years.  MVOL began as a small pioneer company that provided a portal website to Martha’s Vineyard. Due to her enthusiasm and interest in the island community, the company grew 300% under her tenure.

D. Bellante Holand has always wanted to serve on the Planning Board but for lack of time, career and other issues did not pursue this interest, until the current short term opportunity presented itself.  The short term commitment will allow her to determine whether “ the opportunity delivers what she is looking for” and whether she can perform at the level she is accustomed to.

D. Seidman inquired if she intended to run for election, because they’ve had a difficult time obtaining quorum. D. Bellante Holand indicated that she would, if it worked out. Serving on the board was an important civic responsibility. D. Seidman inquired about her job status at Vineyard House Inc. because her resume mentioned that her contract with Vineyard House Inc.  expired on 01/31/16.  She confirmed the information, noting that because her situation was tenuous at best, she could not make a decision to run for a full term, unless she believed she could make a time commitment.

D. Seidman understood and advised D. Bellante Holand that she had until March 2016 to make a decision.  B. Robinson questioned whether D. Bellante Holand would have enough time, since they were only going to be meeting four more times before elections.  If she had any reservations, she could run for the one year position before considering a five year term.

D. Bellante Holand inquired about the Planning Board’s responsibilities and scope of address. She was informed of the Board’s administrative responsibilities and planning efforts, such as the Vision Council (e.g. Owen Park) and All Island Planning Board.  C. Doble added that there was also opportunity for educational courses, and joint projects with the Board of Selectmen. It was felt that she could be extremely helpful connecting the Planning Board and Vision Council with the community via social media.

D. Seidman asked M. Loberg about the Board of Selectmen’s meeting schedule. He wanted to schedule an appointment with the Board of Selectmen to discuss the appointments on the Planning Board.  M. Loberg noted that the Selectmen were scheduled to meet on 01/12/16 at 3:30 PM on another matter, but thought they could join them at 4:30 PM to meet with the candidates and fill the vacancies on the Planning Board.  She wanted to confer with fellow board members to confirm the date and time, before the Planning Board posted the meeting.

D. Bellante Holand confirmed her availability on 1/112/16 and departed at 6:25 PM.

6:26 PM Public Hearing – Adopting Street List for 2016
                Attendance: M. Loberg, Board of Selectmen; Adam Turner, MVC Exec. Dir

Hearing commenced in due form at 6:26 PM. Planning Board Chairman read the meeting notice into the minutes and acknowledged the two officials present at the hearing.  Board members were informed that they were adding Amelia’s Crossing and Vicker’s Way to the street list and deleting Dickson Way.

There being no discussion, D. Seidman entertained a motion to approve the street list as amended. B. Robinson so moved. C. Doble seconded the motion, which motion carried. 3/0/0

D. Seidman entertained a motion to close the hearing. C. Doble so moved. B. Robinson seconded the motion and the motion carried. 3/0/0  The hearing was closed at 6:27 PM

6:27 PM Public Hearing – Proposed Zoning Bylaw Amendment, S 10.02.06 (Site Plan Review)
                Attendance: M. Loberg, Board of Selectmen; Adam Turner, MVC Exec. Dir

Hearing commenced in due form at 6:27 PM. Planning Board Chairman read the meeting notice into the minutes and acknowledged the two officials present at the hearing.  The public hearing notice contained the one paragraph that was proposed to be deleted from the section.

Board members were informed that the language was no longer pertinent, and should have been deleted at the time they overhauled the Site Plan Review Board’s composition and responsibilities.

There being no further comment, D. Seidman entertained a motion on the proposed amendment. C. Doble moved to delete section 10.02.06 from the zoning bylaw.  B. Robinson seconded the motion, which motion carried. 3/0/0

D. Seidman entertained a motion to close the public hearing. B. Robinson so moved. C. Doble seconded the motion. The motion carried: 3/0/0  The hearing was duly closed at 6:29 PM.

6:30 PM Public Hearing – Proposed Zoning Bylaw Amendment, S. 05.23.00 (Business District II)
Attendance: M. Loberg, Board of Selectmen; Adam Turner, MVC Exec. Dir

D. Seidman informed the Board and members of the public that they could not conduct the hearing on the proposed amendment because of an administrative error in the notice. The hearing, as a result was going to be rescheduled to a future date.

6:30 PM Adam Turner, MV Commission Exec. Director

S. 122, An Act Promoting the Planning and Development of Sustainable Communities
A. Turner submitted a copy of the All Island Planning Board’s final version of the letter supporting the legislature’s proposal to amend the state’s zoning regulation (S. 122). He advised the Board that the letter the Edgartown Planning Board signed the other evening included a new provision that supported the grandfathering of the 5000 sq. ft. lots. The provision essentially asked that all existing 5000 sq. ft. lots remain buildable.

A. Turner asked if the Tisbury Planning Board had any objection to the provision.  The Board replied in the negative.  D. Seidman asked the Board if they were prepared to entertain a motion on the amended letter. C. Doble moved to approve the letter dated 01/02/16 as amended. B. Robinson seconded the motion, which motion carried. 3/0/0


A. Turner noted that he was asked to provide information about non-conformities. He explained that the law did not permit an increase in the non-conformity of a structure or use or to continue the non-conformity in perpetuity.  Once removed, it disappeared forevermore. The law was designed to bring everyone into conformity. If a grocery store in a residential district burned down, it could be rebuilt within the confines of existing law. It did not allow one to increase the non-conformity of the building, unless they were entitled to a variance. Variances were difficult to obtain.

B. Robinson explained that he was interested in addressing an on-going practice in Town, in which applicants purchasing pre-existing, non-conforming houses in the Coastal District were being allowed by special permit to demolish the structures and to use the pre-existing footprint to build non-conforming structures.  A. Turner did not believe it should be allowed at all, and if they were re-building new structures, they had to conform to existing regulations.

B. Robinson did not understand the process by which the Board of Appeals could be approached and informed that they were interpreting the regulation incorrectly and that they had to stop the practice. A. Turner thought they had to refer to the bylaws and ask town counsel to instruct the Board of Appeals about the interpretation of state law, because the law was very clear on this issue.  He supposed applicants could be allowed to build within the footprint, but the law is towards conformance.  A. Turner recommended sharing the information with the Building Inspector and inviting them all to a meeting where they could discuss the information he provided.

A. Turner referred to the document he had prepared and read excerpts of the text pertaining to non-conforming structures and uses. He invited the Board to read the document and to share the information with the Building Inspector, with whom he would be happy to discuss the subject at a Planning Board meeting.  Board members agreed to schedule a meeting in the near future with Ken Barwick and Adam Turner to begin a dialogue on the subject.

Joseph DeBettencourt, AP 22A13.11

A. Turner informed the Board that the MV Commission was rendering their final decision on the proposal, and requiring the applicant to landscape each of the borders (except for the town owned section), to submit a much more formal drainage plan and to work out the details for the borderline he shared with Jesse Steere (Shirley’s Hardware).

J. DeBettencourt was required to return to the MV Commission with a landscape plan for the borders and a set of specs for the wall that complied with their policies.

Christopher Dias, AP 22A13.11

Board members were informed that C. Dias has returned to the MV Commission with a much larger proposal, including couple of apartments. Once the Commission received C. Dias’ application, A. Turner offered to meet with the Planning Board to discuss the proposal.

A. Turner reiterated the importance of town’s participation in the review process, and recommended having discussions on the applications prior to their referral to the MV Commission. He thought it would be extremely helpful to send their comments with the referral.  

DRI Checklist, s. 3.2

A. Turner clarified that the particular section gave the town the authority to make decisions on applications within areas that had development plans.  Before the MV Commission delegated the power to the Planning Board, they had to make sure that the town had their ordinance and regulations in place.

7:05PM  Holly Stephenson re: Interview for Planning Board Vacancy
                Attendance: M. Loberg, Board of Selectmen

D. Seidman read H. Stephenson’s letter of interest into the minutes, and noted that he had also received a copy of H. Stephenson’s resume.  Board members reviewed the resume, and D. Seidman opened the discussions. H. Stephenson was asked to share with the Board her interest in serving on the Planning Board.

H. Stephenson indicated that she developed an interest in serving on the Board at the time she participated in the Vision Planning process because of her interest in planning in general, and because of her work experience in New York City’s Planning Department (computer mapping). The positive experiences with the Vision Planning process re- ignited her interest in serving on a local board, particularly the planning board.

She believed her experience as a member of the MV Commission helped her to understand and separate the regional and local planning issues, and appreciate the difficulties in community development. H. Stephenson has been involved in many community organizations and is familiar with past planning board projects, given that her husband had served on the Planning Board for three terms.

D. Seidman inquired about her tenure on the MV Commission. She replied that she had served for four years, at which time she was running a business with her husband.

C. Doble noted that there was a difference between the MV Commission and the Planning Board, and was curious to know what specifically about the Planning Board attracted her the most. H. Stephenson indicated that she has always been very interested in the development of the community in which she lived.  She viewed the MV Commission more as a regulatory agency, where as a local board was much more involved with the community issues, and much more proactive.

B. Robinson was content to see that H. Stephenson was interested in serving on a local board that was expected to be pro-active. It required volunteers who had the drive and time to commit on projects and some of the long term objectives to be effective.  It was important to understand that they needed help to develop plans, and initiatives to strengthen the long term planning objectives.

H. Stephenson had every intention to work hard on the board, and had experience reading plans. C. Doble added that there were plenty of opportunities to attend educational functions and to schedule such functions for the Vision planning process. Board members were also expected to participate in subcommittees as representatives of the Board, some of which will have to be delegated to her.

B. Robinson advised H. Stephenson that there were presently two vacancies on the board that they were looking to fill, with the expectation that the appointees would also consider running for during elections. They currently have two seats available with varying terms.  Planning Board terms ran five years, but they also had one for one year.  

Additional discussions ensued with this regard, and H. Stephenson was invited to join the Planning Board and Board of Selectmen on January 12, 2016 at 4:30 PM in the Katherine Cornell Theater, at which time the appointments would be made.

Board members favored nominating both applicants to fill the two vacancies.

7:20 PM Frank Brunelle re: Interview for Planning Board Vacancy ( Not confirmed/No Show)


  • Douglas Dowling, Smith & Dowling
RE:  Form A Application, Sharon A Jackson & James C. Shepherd et. ux.

Board members were advised that the proposal was for a lot line adjustment between the two applicants.

There being no discussion, C. Doble moved to endorse the plan that was submitted by Douglas Dowling as an ANR under the subdivision control law. B. Robinson seconded the motion, which motion carried. 3/0/0

2. Zoning Bylaws and Warrant Articles
A. Accessory Apartments

C. Doble reviewed the Town of West Tisbury’s and the Town of Tisbury’s regulations pertaining to accessory apartments and noted that there were slight differences in the language, which they might consider adopting so that they had an affordability component
She mentioned that West Tisbury’s regulations condensed their purpose statement into a paragraph, and included language about providing affordable, year-round housing.

The requirements in West Tisbury’s regulations were similar to conditions listed in section 04.03.13, except for the restriction in the R3A and Coastal Districts.  Both regulations shared the residency requirement, except that Tisbury’s regulation did not both an attached or detached unit on the same property. D. Seidman questioned whether they should amend the regulation to permit the two units.

He was advised that the West Tisbury did not have a regulation for guesthouses. The closest definition for a guesthouse was “subordinate dwelling”.  Tisbury had a separate regulation specifically for guesthouses, which included a slightly different requirement.  C. Doble thought they should remain separate, noting that the accessory apartments in West Tisbury were allowed to be a minimum of 300 sq. ft. and a maximum of 800 sq. ft.  

The board secretary further noted that the Town of West Tisbury required a minimum of 3 acres to qualify for an accessory apartments and 4.5 acres to qualify for subordinate dwellings.  She was advised that subordinate dwellings were also limited to a maximum allowance of 1000 sq. ft.

C. Doble added that they might be interested in adding language about an occupancy restriction on apartments (i.e. eligibility), and referred the Board to section 4.4-4 (a & b). D. Seidman thought they should copy the language verbatim, and let DCRHA certify the occupant’s eligibility.

Last recommendation to the Board made by C. Doble was to add the language in s. 4.4-6 in which 20% of lots within a subdivision of three or more building lots were to be designated for affordable housing.  Board members agreed.

B. Pre-existing, non-conforming structures

C. Floating Structures -

Board members were advised that the Board of Selectmen were not in favor of approving a moratorium on floating structures.

3.  Mullen Rule vs. Remote Participation

M. Loberg was informed that the Board of Selectmen’s motion in September 2014 to adopt the regulation permitting remote participation was faulty and had to be redone.  She was provided with Town Counsel’s email and copies of the regulations.

D. Seidman asked if the Board of Selectmen would consider adopting the regulation pertaining to remote participation on January 12, 2016 and agree on submitting an article to adopt the Mullen Rule at STM.  A copy of the draft warrant article for the latter was provided for the Board of Selectmen’s consideration and town counsel’s review.

M. Loberg could not guarantee that the Board of Selectmen would entertain the proposal on January 12, 2016, but promised to discuss this with them.

4. Town Report

B. Robinson was asked to write this year’s report on the board’s behalf. B. Robinson graciously agreed.


  • Dawn Bellante Holand
RE:  Letter of Interest (Planning Board vacancy)

  • Holly Stephenson
RE: Letter of Interest

3. Tisbury Board of Appeals
  • Public Hearing – Roni DeLuz, AP 06A12 (Lodging house)
  • Public Hearing – Joseph DeBettencourt, AP 22A13.11 (outside business activity)
4. All Island Planning Board
RE: November 4, 2015 Meeting Minutes

5. MV Commission
  • December 2015 Newsletter
  • 30 December 2015 Extended Schedule
  • 07 January 2016 Meeting Agenda
PRO FORM        Meeting opened, conducted and closed in due form at 8:50 P.M.           (m/s/c  3/0/0)          
Respectfully submitted;
Patricia V. Harris, Secretary

APPROVAL:       Approved and accepted as official minutes;

______________  _________________________
Date                    Daniel Seidman