Demolition hearing closed – The Martha’s Vineyard Times


Update 3:50 p.m.

The Martha’s Vineyard Commission has closed the public hearing on the already demolished house at 112 Dukes County Avenue, following damning testimony in support of the project.

The commission’s review comes months after the house was already demolished, after owners Ryan and Abigail Dillon received approvals for demolition Oak Bluffs Historical Committee, City Building Inspectors, and the VMC.

A month after saying the project did not have to be reviewed by the commission in a letter, MVC executive director Adam Turner discovered that the project was not in a historic district and therefore needed to be reviewed.

Turner previously told The Times that someone he had not specified had indicated that the project needed to be reviewed.

Speaking to The Times by phone, Oak Bluffs planning council chairman Ewell Hopkins said he was surprised the commission was reviewing the project since it had not been seen or returned to the city .

“The commission, based on my informal investigation of whether or not this triggered a DRI or a review by the commission, indicated that the act of demolition required a review by the commission,” Hopkins said.

He said he was also “very surprised” to learn that the project was being considered as a DRI as no project application had been submitted to the city.

“I am surprised that the commission is doing anything other than looking at aspects of the demolition before sending it back to town,” he said. “Now that they’ve looked at the whole project, I can’t wait to review what they’ve already seen.

The house is owned by Ryan and Abigail Dillon who are proposing to build a new 3,500 square foot three-story home with a one-bedroom apartment on each floor. The Dillons intend to reuse a small amount of wood from the old building for cabinetry. The Dillons also plan to house employees for their cabinetmaking business.

In a statement to Commissioners, Abby Dillon described how her family lives on the island year-round and how she and her husband run a cabinet-making company that employs other island residents year round.

“We demolished a structure that had no foundation, that was resting on blocks, with rotten poles and we still found some wood to salvage to reuse it because we are not a family to throw away,” Dillon wrote. in part. “Having said that, I can assure you that we were incredibly thoughtful in our decision to demolish this structure. In fact, the decision to demolish came the day we decided we couldn’t renovate the house safely enough for our four children in an environmentally friendly way. It is not because a structure is old that it is healthy for our environment.

She went on to describe how she and her husband went through the proper clearance process and were financially and emotionally drained.

The only voice of the opposition came from Candace “Candy” Nichols, who owns 110 Dukes County Ave., a property she leases to tenants. Nichols said she was concerned about her property and the neighborhood.

“In a nutshell, the project is too big, it’s too high,” she said. “I did not find the plans attractive and in keeping with the property with the house that was there or anything in the neighborhood. To me it looks like a hotel in a club.

She pleaded for the commission to reduce the size of the project and demand adequate parking.

Sean DeBettencourt said the role of the commission is to protect the environment, economy, character and social fabric of the island.

“The project as presented is clearly sized appropriately and built with a sustainable vision that is part of improving the environment of the island. The project is part of the motif of the district which is part of the character. The project adds housing for the workforce and maintains middle-class jobs on the island, which integrates into the economy. This allows workers to have stable homes and encourage stability in their families, ”DeBettencourt said. “It touches all aspects of the MVC role.”

Leah Brown, who owns two homes in the neighborhood, said she had renovated her homes to help beautify the neighborhood in the same way the Dillons did.

“The person who opposes it is used to fighting whatever fun, innovative and uplifting we want to do in our neighborhood,” Brown said. “I am asking you to speak in favor of the Dillons because they have done everything right.”

More than 20 other letters of support for the project were sent to the commission.

Commissioner Fred Hancock, who represents Oak Bluffs, said the language of the MVC referring to demolition referrals had not changed recently and that the historic Oak Bluffs commission was taking liberties and wielding authority than it did. has not.

“I would certainly blame the historical commission and the city’s construction department for putting this candidate in this position,” Hancock said. “I would really apologize to them, it’s not their fault. They are in a very awkward position.

Lawyer Robb Moriarty, who represents the Dillons, has asked the commission to approve the project.

“The advantages clearly outweigh its disadvantages,” he said.

The public hearing being closed, the written file will remain open until Friday, August 13 at 5 p.m.

In the remaining cases, the commission continued a public hearing on a proposed demolition of 19 Mill Square Road in Oak Bluffs. The project aims to demolish the existing historic house and build a larger four-bedroom, 3.5-story residence in a similar style.

The house is listed in the Massachusetts Cultural Resources Information System (MACRIS). It was built around 1898 as a seasonal swelling. It is considered important as part of the Vineyard Highlands, an alternative to Wesleyan Grove camping.

Updated to include comments from Ewell Hopkins. – Ed.

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