What Are The Surfside Crossing Developers Truly Concerned About?

Meghan Perry Glowacki •

To the editor: I debated on adding gasoline to the ongoing dumpster fire with regard to the Surfside Crossing developer’s letter to the editor, but some things just needed to be addressed.

If the developers were truly concerned with affordable housing on Nantucket, why is it that the first and only building permit applied for is a 13,787-square-foot clubhouse with not a single bedroom in it? It will have a bowling alley, five bathrooms, a lounge and a fitness center, but not a single bedroom. I am not sure how that helps the affordable housing issue.

High-density developments such as Surfside Crossing are a known risk. The developers are aware of this and have ignored the risks that have been pointed out by many local town boards, committees, commissions, departments, nonprofit organizations, and the public. The developers have appealed to the state Housing Appeals Committee with an even more egregious plan that no local town board, committee, etc. or anyone on-island for that matter has ever seen under the guise that the regional need for affordable housing outweighs the local concerns which, of course, includes public safety. Local concerns and public safety are not things to be weighed against regional housing needs. They are not equal. The safety of the community should be absolute. Not resolving these risks for the sake of economics and profit in the name of affordable housing is reckless to public health, safety, and welfare. This is one of the reasons that Nantucket Tipping Point on behalf of the residents appealed the HAC decision to the Superior Court and won even after the town via the Nantucket Select Board decided to drop the Zoning Board of Appeals appeal.

To be clear, the Surfside Crossing developers are not selling 75 percent of this project at an affordable rate. Of the 156 units, only 39 will be “affordable," the minimum required by the state and the developers have stated that is all they will build for “affordable units." That means 117 units will be sold at full market rate prices. Will they be investment properties? Short-term rentals? Clearly this is intended to line the developer’s pockets and the burden to accommodate these “for-profit units” will fall directly on the community’s shoulders and not the developers. As Tucker Holland the former Housing Director stated in a memo written in collaboration with the developers “The developers are clear on making the return [profit] permitted under 40B”.

There have been many questions asked about the town and the developer's “agreement” that, for some reason, has not been put in writing for the public to see. NTP replied to the Select Board’s request for mediation but asked that “Both the Town and the developers to please disclose any financial agreements." The Town has not replied. The developers refused mediation and are trying to say the residents do not have standing for the already litigated case.

The fight that NTP took on was so groundbreaking that last week Lawyers Weekly (https://masslawyersweekly.com/2024/02/02/judge-sends-nantucket-developer-back-to-drawing-board/) did a front-page article on it. In the article, numerous lawyers were asked what they thought of the decision. They found it hard to argue with the judge’s decision to send it back to the drawing board. The developers have decided they’d rather go back to court.

Nantucket Tipping Point will continue to fight for the health safety and welfare of our entire community. It is a team effort to protect our community and it's time for the lies and backdoor deals to stop.

Meghan Perry Glowacki

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