Martha's Vineyard Commission

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Map of the Month: Island Plan Vision Map

The Martha's Vineyard Island Plan's main recommendations are summarized in the Land Use Guidance Map. This vision map divides the Island into two main areas - Town Areas and Rural Areas - and nine subcategories that can accomodate various amounts of growth and that seek varying levels of resource protection and protection of existing character. We'll be displaying a new map every month or so to highlight the work of the Commission.

Adam Turner Is Touring the Island

Adam Turner

New Executive Director of the Martha's Vineyard Commission has undertaken a tour of the Island to meet town boards, elected officials, and other people who deal with the Commission.

"Since my arrival in early August, I made it a priority to meet people and hear what they have to say. I want people to get to know me and where I come from and also to hear what they think is important."

A Connecticut native, Adam has practiced far and wide over his professional career. (See his resume here.He has experience in coastal management and is also is experienced in grant writing and code/plan drafting. "I worked for a law firm that specialized in drafting codes/plan for various communities around the United States. In fact that's what took me to Asia initially."

"I plan to continue our services to the various towns in terms of technical assistance in planning as a technical assistant. I view the Commission as the Island planning staff and we will work with the towns and give them what they need. For example our mapping is the standard here. I worked as a small town planner so I expect to and enjoy working with the towns."

"My father was on the Town Council in our town and he would make decisions and would have few conflicts or discussions regarding his decisions. But in Saipan, I knew I'd see someone we made a decision about getting coffee and be asked, why did you do that?" 

"It good to have such contact because it really forces us to look at all sides of the issue and realize that even if we disagree, it's not personal."

"We have a responsibility to listen and consider all viewpoints. The MVC has a responsibility, and I think that can best be met by working in tandem with all of the towns," Mr. Turner said. "I've been to a lot of them, but I've still got a lot to go, because there are six of them, but I think that's important."

And while DRIs are constantly in the public focus, Mr. Turner really wants to commit to making a difference in larger planning issues such as water quality and affordable housing. "These are broad issues that require all stakeholder participation to impact. But these are Island-wide issues and can only be solved with the various groups and individuals working together" he said. 

He and his wife Rocy live in Oak Bluffs, with their two daughters, Alexandra, age 8, and Hydee, age 6, who attend Oak Bluffs School.

"I'm going to have to earn the respect of both my Commission and staff here and other entities around the Island," Mr. Turner said. "And the only way I'm going to do that is by working with these people and them understanding what I'm about."

For further information, please contact Adam Turner, MVC Executive Director, at [email protected].

Review of DRI Checklist is Underway

The MVC's DRI Checklist consists of Standards and Criteria used to determine when a development is a DRI and must or may be referred to the Martha's Vineyard Commission for review. The standards and criteria relate to a project's likely impact on the environment, traffic, and municipal services, among other factors. 

Every two years or so, the Martha's Vineyard Commission reviews the DRI Checklist to identify whether any of the triggers for referral should be revised. Here is a link to the current DRI Checklist, which went into effect in 2013.

The Commission has set up a DRI Checklist Review Committee to make recommendations to the Commission about possible changes. The committee has invited comments from town boards and members of the public. The committee meets most Wednesday's at 8 a.m. at the Commission offices. All Commission meetings are open to the public. Please check the MVC website calendar for dates of future meetings.

For further information or to give comments, please contact Adam Turner, MVC Executive Director, at [email protected].

Looking at the Commission

After Mark London took over as Executive Director of the Martha's Vineyard Commission, he prepared a report entitled “Looking at the Commission: Review of the Operations of the Martha's Vineyard Commission and Recommendations for Improvements.” It contained 11 general recommendations, 38 specific recommendations, and a total of 131 short-term, medium-term, and long-term actions to achieve them.

Now, he took up the suggestion of a local newspaper editorial to look back at each of the general and specific recommendations of the 2003 report and describe what actions were taken since then to achieve them, as a way to document the achievements of the past thirteen years. It is called "Looking at the Commission: Follow-Up 2015".

Island Planning News

All-Island Planning Board

The proposed revisions to the Zoning Act will be discussed with Senator Dan Wolf or an aide from his office at a meeting of the All-Island Planning Board on November 4 at 6 p.m. at Chilmark Town Hall.

CPTC Workshop - Introduction to the Zoning Act - Saturday November 21

For newer board members, this course addresses the history and purposes of zoning, adoption of zoning bylaws, variances and special permits, public hearing and voting requirements and other key procedural requirements. Proposed amendments to the Zoning Act (MGL Chapter 40A) will be discussed. Instructor Bob Ritchie, with decades of working on planning policy at the state and local levels, has been involved for at least a decade with trying to modernize the Massachusetts Zoning Enabling Act. Register online here or contact Bill Veno at the MVC.  The cost is $30.

Oak Bluffs Finalizes Streetscape Plan

The Oak Bluffs Downtown Streetscape Master Plan is Complete. The comprehensive plan was an 18-month planning process with community visioning and extensive outreach to residents, visitors, and businesses. Recommendations include improvements for infrastructure such as streets and sidewalks, lighting, and parking; improved access in and around downtown and harbor area specifically for pedestrians and cyclists; and improved signage and wayfinding for visitors and residents. The Plan and more information is available here.

Tisbury Vision Plan

The Town of Tisbury adopted a Vision Plan earlier this year. The Tisbury vision planning initiative, sponsored by the town planning board, facilitated community participation in a town visioning process during the fall of 2014 and winter of 2015. The resulting plan deals with issues such as stewardship of the natural environment, sustaining a beautiful and lasting built environment, improving the pedestrian network, making the waterfront more accessible, and improving the public realm. A Vision Council now is meeting regularly to work on implementing the plan. More information can be found here

Big Changes Coming to Flood Insurance

New Flood Insurance (FIRM) Maps, used for determining flood insurance eligibility, will come into effect on July 1, 2016, after towns adopt them at town meetings this coming spring. For more information, go here

Office location:

Office location:

The Stone Building
33 New York Avenue
Oak Bluffs, MA 02557

Telephone: 508-693-3453
Fax: 508-693-7894

Mailing Address

Mailing address:

Martha's Vineyard Commission
P.O. Box 1447
Oak Bluffs, MA 02557

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