Don't Believe The Hype On Surfside Crossing

Meghan Perry •

To the editor:

The latest press release and sales video for Surfside Crossing shows a level of honestly on par with the level of honesty that we have seen with the SBPF project. I mean it’s the same players, so what did we expect?

My opinion:

This project is not and never has been about the local community. The only thing that has been clear from the “outset” is that SSX has been about the millionaire developers exploiting Nantucket and the 40 B law so that they may make a profit off the backs of the hard-working people of Nantucket and that is what this PR crafted press release and sales video highlights. Surfside Crossing is not going to solve the housing problem on Nantucket. Wade through the smoke and mirrors and one is left with some huge gaps in the plans that yet again the community, not the developers, will be left paying for.

As someone who personally spent hundreds of hours at ZBA meetings and hundreds of hours reviewing last minute document dumps by the same two developers I see nothing more than a well paid for PR firm and stake holders grasping for public approval on a project that has a scale and density like no other on island. I feel the press release is a nicely worded and probably expensive PR letter and sales video with a great pitch for off island STR investors to take interest.

Those featured are all stakeholders or have a financial incentive to promote and endorse this type project to persuade the public into believing this is for our community. The video contains inaccurate statements or contains statements that are misleading because they fail to disclose information necessary to make the statement not misleading.

To infer they are striving to be environmentally sustainable and with significant open space is in my opinion a farce. SSX hired people to go in with masks on a Saturday morning and clear cut the endangered species habitat before the Northern Long Eared Bat got federally up-listed. That doesn’t sound environmentally minded to me. The remaining “habitat” as a requirement by the Conservation Management plan is essentially a ten-foot to 20 foot perimeter buffer. I am not sure what habitat that serves?

They mention 39 “affordable” Condo units out of 156 Condos- that is the minimum requirement by law and in my opinion not out of the goodness of their heart. Why not do more if this project is really about affordable housing on Nantucket? The flawed 40B law gets used by developers to skirt local regulations to get projects subsidized by tax dollars and now they’re looking for non-profits and the town to further join them.

They mention historic matters yet refuse to abide by HDC standards that the rest of the island adheres to.

The developers are not the ones deed restricting the development, they’re looking for buyers to do that and further subsidize their profit.

They say a three-minute drive to the schools- is that at 3 am?! because it’s not three minutes now during daylight hours and a project of this density is only going to increase traffic congestion. We’ve all been stuck on Surfside Road whether be in the summer or during the school year. You have seen the signs: Imagine 800 more cars here.

Funny they mention safety-18 condo buildings and one community building all the size or larger than the Veranda House. I wonder how a fire in a development with 19 buildings that large and more dense than Richmond will be extinguished and with only one exit? How will it be policed? Studies show when you increase density in a neighborhood, the need for law enforcement goes up. Do police really want to live with their families where they also police all day and night? Who really wants to play college dorm RA their entire life? Would a firefighter really risk putting their family in housing they are potentially unable to extinguish? Do parents have to choose between housing and safety?

Funny to have a real estate agent explain to us all where this development is to be located. “Within striking distance of Surfside beach” and lists all the intended amenities- sounds like a great brochure ad for a rental not for a year-round community.

Funny how this lovely and mostly likely very expensive PR press release and sales video says they are in the “home stretch with pre sales available”. I wonder if they mention the at least three law suits filed by three different entities(Nantucket Tipping Point, Nantucket Land Council and the Town of Nantucket) against this development? Is that the home stretch?

How is the Town’s Housing Director negotiating with taxpayer funds for potential deals with the developers, for the Town to buy units while a tax payer funded law suit is in progress? Why is the Town negotiating against its self? All while the Town missed the State Conservation Management Permit and the 21-day appeal period was going on and was missed by three different Town departments or considered “informational only”.

Has the Town learned nothing from its other private/public partnership?

It is insulting to me to hear the stakeholders say, “This is their opportunity to give back”, this is “their contribution” “their responsibility”- In my opinion, Surfside Crossing is not about “affordable housing” it is reckless to public health, safety and welfare! Not resolving risks for the sake of economics and profit in the name of “affordable housing”, that is what Surfside Crossing is all about.


Meghan Perry
Nantucket Tipping Point Board Member

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