Explore the Vineyard – Get the App - TrailsMV
Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation has spearheaded the production of a smartphone app, TrailsMV. The app allows you to view all the Vineyard’s trails and conservation lands on your phone. See where you are on the trail as you walk the properties. Plan a longer route by seeing how one trail network links to another. The app is FREE for download from the App Store. A version for Android will be arriving later in 2018. This project was a collaborative effort of all the Vineyard's conservation groups (DCR, Mass Audubon, MVLB, Polly Hill Arboretum, TNC, TTOR, VCS, Vineyard Open Land Foundation) and the MVC.
The MVC is in the process of compiling data for a comprehensive Island Statistical Profile. The MVC has a long standing history of collecting Island data, and is now looking to convey that information in a helpful manner. The Statistical Profile will encompass demographic, economic, environmental, social, and cultural information to be used in long-term planning and trend analysis. Once complete, the Profile will be made available to Towns and interested members of the public. The Profile will have a myriad of practical functions such as assistance with grant applications and potential zoning bylaw amendments; as well as helping to guide the ongoing evolution of Martha’s Vineyard so it can best meet the needs of residents and others.
Water Quality Testing Results
For several years, the MVC has collaborated with the University of Massachusetts Darmouth (SMAST) to conduct Island-wide Water Quality Monitoring. This has enabled us to unify pond monitoring under one umbrella so that data is consistently collected and analyzed year to year to ensure cross comparibility and assure quality of the results.
Each year, multiple location testing is conducted in the Island ponds. Samples are collected for depth, water clarity, water temperature, salinity, and amounts of nitrogen and other compounds. These samples are sent off-island for processing and results are aggregated and stored by pond. This study reviews the results of the testing, and compares the current testing (2017) to previous years so trends can be evaluated.
This studies provides critical regionalized data to assist the MVC and the Towns of Martha's Vineyard as they move forward with implementation of nutrient management strategies related to implementation of mitigation techniques guided by the Massachusetts Estuaries Project (MEP), as well as associated nutrient TMDLs developed and issued by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). The value of unified and consistent water quality testing/monitoring Island-wide is further increased as the Towns of Martha's Vineyard face post-compliance monitoring requirements associated with nutrient management and meeting estuarine specific TMDLs.
Nutrient over-enrichment is the major ecological threat to water quality in the salt ponds and embayments across the Island of Martha's Vineyard, primarily via the ecological degradation due to excess nutrients. Degradation of the ponds is a direct threat to the Island's social, environmental, and economic health. A copy of the report can be found here.
Vineyard Wind under review by BOEM
BOEM (Bureau of Ocean Energy Management) is scoping its Impact Statement on Vineyard Wind's Construction and Operations Plan. This is a chance to comment on what needs to be addressed in the Impact Statement. MVC and local boards will review for approval the transmission line and any onshore facilities, but most of the project lies beyond the 3-mile limit of MVC's and the towns' jurisdiction. This comment period is a chance to be heard by BOEM; the primary chance for the offshore parts of the plan. Comments will be received until April 30. Here is a link to BOEM's page on the project. There is much information about the project and about the review underway.
BOEM will hold a scoping session here as follows:
Tuesday, April 17, 2018
Martha’s Vineyard Hebrew Center
130 Center Street, Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts 02568
Open House 5:00-8:00 p.m.
Presentation and Q&A 6:00 p.m.
The MVC is involved in several environmental issues
Correspondence was sent to Governor Baker about the Department of the Interior's proposed Five-Year Offshore Drilling Plan.
The Offshore Drilling Plan could potentially open the Atlantic coastline to drilling. The MVC has asked the Governor to formally oppose the plan as proposed, and to do everything in his power to prevent the offshore drilling, including removing Massachusetts from the plan entirely. A copy of the letter can be found here.
Correspondence was also sent to Clayton Edwards, from the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources, regarding the use of herbicides on the Eversouce right of way corridors.
The MVC feels that the Eversource Vegetation Management Plan does not adequately inform or protect the public, and it allows the application of potentially dangerous herbicides along the power line right of ways in Edgartown, Oak Bluffs and Tisbury. The MVC is hoping to facilitate that a regular meeting be held each year the power company intends to apply herbicides to ensure that the public is informed and protected. A copy of the letter can be found here.
For more information about either of these topics, feel free to reach out to Lucy Morrison or Adam Turner.
How to Read Flood and Storm Surge Maps
Flood and Storm hazard maps may be confusing. There are storm surge maps of inundation from the dangerous surge of rising hurricane waters. There are flood maps for a nor'easter type of storm. FEMA produces the flood maps to determine rates for its federally-subsidized flood insurance policies. Towns (except for Chilmark) use the maps in floodplain regulations to keep the subsidies available.
Here is a handy 2-sided guide to reading each type of map. jat 3/23/18
RFP for Site Suitability Tool for Affordable Housing
The Martha’s Vineyard Commission is seeking to contract with a software developer possessing experience working with municipalities or government entities to develop a user-friendly, web-based, site suitability tool to identify optimal sites for affordable housing development. All responses are due no later than April 23, 2018. Please see the Request for Proposal in its entirety.
Permanent Traffic Counters
The MVC was given funding from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) to plan and implement a permanent count station program. Permament count stations are automated traffic counters that provide digital data on traffic conditions in real time. The Commission has funds to install six counters in various locations.
Greening Your Community: Cost-Effective Low Impact Development Solutions
Mass Audubon recently published several fact sheets to help fast developing communities chart a more sustainable future.
#1 Preserving Natural Resources with Nature Based Solutions delves into land use planning and cost-effective solutions to protect land and water.
#2 Conservation Design focuses on balancing growth and character and includes examples from New England communities.
#3 Low Impact Development Best Management Practices provides a list of tools like green rooves, rain barrels, rain gardens, permeable pavement and stormwater wetlands.
#4 Local Zoning and Regulations describes how designing regulations to reflect priorities and planning ahead can shape the future of the community.
#5 Urban Water Quality Improvements focuses on impaired waters and remediation techniques, such as hydrodynamic separators, deep sump catch basins and gravel wetlands.
Another Successful Living Local
As a proud sponsor, MVC was a part of yet another successful Living Local on Saturday, September 23. Still growing, the event drew 2500 this year. MVC staff Sheri Caseau, Bill Veno and Jo-Ann Taylor presented displays on the planning efforts of the Commission and were rewarded with considerable helpful feedback. We were happy to have several Commissioners stop by and visit. Thank you, Joan Malkin and Richard Toole!
The MVC has been working with Towns and others to investigate the permitting and spraying of herbicides on the island. This year Eversource plans to apply herbicides along the electric right-of-ways in Tisbury, Oak Bluffs and Edgartown. The MVC has corresponded with both Eversource on April 19th and the Department of Agricultural Resources (the State department in charge of approving herbicide applications) on May 16th, June 20th, and July 10th on these issues, and requesting more research on the spraying, given the island’s shallow aquifer and unique State forest. Alternatives are available, including strictly mechanical means of removing the necessary vegetation. Information is found in the following links:
For more information, please contact Executive Director, Adam Turner his assistant Lucy Morrison.
New Building Code Effective Soon
The Ninth Massachusetts Building Code (780 CMR) will become effective soon (August or September date to be announced). A period of concurrency will follow, when 8th or 9th Code rules may be applied. From January 1, 2018 onward, all building must comply with the 9th Code.
The updated code will include significant differences in flood elevation rules and considerations for high wind areas, among others of particular interest here on Martha's Vineyard. Home and business owners and their consultants should take note. Town review boards and agents should take note.
Click Here for a summary of the changes.
New DRI Checklist and Referral Form
The MVC updated the DRI Checklist with input from towns last summer. The changes were submitted to the State and approved at the end of January. The latest DRI Checklist went into effect on April 15, 2017.
DRI Checklist (Version 13)
DRI Referral Form
Summary of Changes
Housing Production Plans - Draft Reports Released
A Housing Production Plan (HPP) is a proactive strategy for planning and developing moderate and community housing that meets the 10% Chapter 40B State Housing Inventory (SHI) target per Massachusetts Housing and Community Development (DHCD) guidelines. HPPs that are certified by the DHCD help towns meet their moderate housing goals.
The Martha's Vineyard All Island Planning Board (AIPB) established a Housing Work Group consisting of one representative from each town planning board. Jennifer Goldson and Judi Barrett have been hired to help the Working Group and provide professional planning services to organize and facilitate the HPP process. The Work Group is coordinating the planning process and has created a forum to identify common interests or problems, exchange ideas, develop Island-wide solutions and keep the AIPB and public apprised of their progress. Out of this collaboration, each town has been tasked with creating its own HPP to meet the affordable and workforce housing needs.
Beginning in September of 2016 and through the fall and early winter, a series of 3 HPP meetings were held in each town and an online housing survey was available for residents to provide their feedback regarding housing on the Vineyard.
The consultants have released the Draft Housing Production Plans for each Island town and an Island-wide version. Click the respective link below to view the Draft HPP plans.
Aquinnah Chilmark Edgartown Oak Bluffs Tisbury West Tisbury Island-Wide Executive Summary
To view all meeting materials click here. Click here to visit the Housing Production Plan webpage.
Transportation Plans Available