To the editor: Maybe it’s time to revisit and terminate the Memorandum Of Agreement between the Town and Planning and Land Use Services from 2012 so that all departments of the Town are held to the same standards? Dear Members of the Select Board and NP&EDC, I have a couple questions. Based on an email dated February 16, 2023, received from a FOIA request, shortly after the contract renewal for Planning Director Andrew Vorce (January 23, 2023) with a 4% raise retroactive to July 1, 2022, from the Planning Director Andrew Vorce to Chair Longacre of the NP&EDC, Mr. Vorce came up with an “initiative” that he “pitched” to the Housing Director, Tucker Holland, and the developer of Surfside Crossing, Jamie Feeley, to have the Town of Nantucket withdraw from the ZBA’s appeal of the HAC decision. Chair Longacre continued to ask Planning Director Vorce if he wanted Deputy Director Snell to “participate instead of you? Especially since the group apparently won’t begin meeting until after you’ve announced your retirement plans.”
My first question is - Why did NE&PDC give a 4% raise retroactive to July 1, 2022, when they knew of an eminent retirement on Mr. Vorce’s part?
My second question is - Why is the Director of Planning “pitching” “initiatives” on legal matters as he had not attended ZBA meetings or Select Board executive session regarding Surfside Crossing litigation?
My third question is - It appears based on these emails it had been predetermined when Mr. Vorce retired, Ms. Snell would be the new Planning Director without a proper and lawful open search.
The Affordable Housing Trust went into executive session illegally and for some unknown reason decided to discuss, deliberate, and vote on the matter which they are not a party to while in executive session for reason number 6-an Open Meeting Law violation. Per the meeting minutes, during the April 7, 2023, executive session, AHTF, Planning Board and NE&PDC member Dave Iverson made the motion to advice the Select Board to withdrawal the ZBA’s appeal after Select Board member Brooke Mohr said she needed the vote. The Select Board then held an executive session on April 13, 2023, and voted 3-2 to withdraw from the ZBA’s appeal of the HAC decision without consulting the ZBA.
The Town’s PR firm, Pierce-Cote, prepared a statement for the Vice-Chair of the Select Board, Dawn Holdgate to say to the Inquire and Mirror and Nantucket Current followed by the prepared joint statement from the Town and the Developer. Many members of the Select Board and the Housing Director have stated this non-binding agreement was to help the Town “have a seat at the table” and to help with the “housing crisis”. To many citizens this closed-door deal seems premature given the Town had leverage by way of the appeal, but now does not.
On June 30, 2023, the ZBA submitted their final review of the incomplete Surfside Crossing plans. Also on June 30, 2023, Surfside Crossing submitted its first and only Building Permit application to the Building Commissioner, Paul Murphy. The very first building permit submitted is for the 10,160 square foot Community building/Club House that does not contain a single bedroom in it. It does have a gym, a couple lounges, an arcade, locker rooms and a two-lane bowling alley.
My next question is - How does this clubhouse building help the island’s “housing crisis”?
Is this the type of “Seat at the table” the community can expect from the Town and its partnership with the developers? Clubhouses and bowling alleys?
It continues to beg the question why the town withdrew from the Surfside Crossing lawsuit with absolutely no written agreement with the developer especially given this same board just renegotiated the town manager’s contract because as the Chair of the Selectn Board said you wanted it in writing.
I look forward to your response.