Kudos To The Zoning Board of Appeals

Meghan Perry •

To the editor: (This letter was originally addressed to the Zoning Board of Appeals)

I am writing to thank you! To thank you for doing what is best for our community. To thank you for doing what the Select Board failed at doing- looking out for our entire community! To thank you for all the time, effort, and energy that you give to our entire community.

The Select Board themselves wrote a letter dated February 14, 2018 to MassHousing stating “The Board of Selectmen voted 5-0 to strongly urge MassHousing to deny the Project Eligibility Letter (PEL) (for Surfside Crossing) because (1) the design presents significant fire safety issues; (2) the Property is too culturally important; (3) the Property is located in an extremely environmentally sensitive area; (4) the parcel is too small to support the proposed 12 unit per acre density, which would overwhelm the Property and the neighborhood and where there is a special concern over traffic generation; (5) the Project would generate 43,000 gallons of sewer flow per day that would require a new one-mile long sewer main to the wastewater treatment facility as existing sewer mains cannot handle additional flow; and (6) the Town has insufficient water capacity to serve the project.

This project will not just affect one street or one neighborhood, it will affect the entire community’s infrastructure, health, safety and environment.

I am not sure what changed as none of these issues and risks have been answered or removed from the project, no concessions were made by the developer, and nothing in the form of an agreement was put in writing - just “good faith” between parties who have been illusive in their past “good faith” agreements.

I’m not sure why the town relied on the chair of the Affordable Housing Trust (also a real estate agent/office owner), the Housing Director, and the Planning Director to negotiate this deal directly with the developers. Three non-elected people making behind closed door deals for the entire community with no concessions made by the developers, no guarantees, nothing in writing and no advice from town counsel. What I am sure of is that these three individuals have written contracts for their jobs, so why no written contract when it affects the entire community?

I’m not sure why the ZBA was not involved when you are the sole enforcement and regulatory board for projects such as this. The ZBA as stated in its mission through zoning by-laws shall “promote the health, safety, convenience, morals and general welfare of Nantucket’s inhabitants, to lessen the danger from fire and congestion and to improve the town...”

I’m not sure why the Planning director and deputy director who is your staff administrator did not involve your board. I’m not sure why town counsel felt he could represent both boards without a conflict. I am not sure why it was appropriate for the developer’s attorney to write and sign the dismissal for town counsel on your behalf.

I’m not sure where ethics and morals stopped and pushing forward with housing and development at all cost started.

What I am sure of is that three members of the Select Board - Jason Bridges, Brooke Mohr and Dawn Holdgate - failed in supporting you and the community.

Please know the community stands by you and with you in your decision to help protect our island from risky high density over development such as Surfside Crossing. You may feel usurped and blindsided by the Select Board’s actions, but please know we all see you, we all hear you and we all support you.

Rest assured Nantucket Tipping Point will continue our appeal and continue to be the watchdog for what the Town is not doing to protect our entire community.


Meghan Perry
Nantucket Tipping Point board member

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