A key subcommittee of the Martha’s Vineyard Commission has recommended that the commission deny a proposal from the Vineyard Golf Club to build nine luxury houses for club members plus a new employee dormitory and bathroom on the course along the Edgartown-West Tisbury Road.
The commission land use planning committee on May 12 voted 5-1 with two abstentions to recommend denial of the proposal. Although it is not bound to follow the recommendations of the committee, the full commission usually gives the recommendation considerable weight when voting on a project.
The commission approved plans for the golf course in 2000 with a condition that explicitly prohibited member housing. The only housing allowed by the commission was for club employees.
Since then golf course representatives have tried for a modification of the condition more than once. They say the new housing would add approximately $70,000 in taxes to town coffers each year while putting little strain on town services.
But members of the land use planning committee earlier this month remained unconvinced.
Commissioner Ned Orleans said he was not on the MVC when the project was approved in 2000, but said he would have voted against member housing if he was.
Commissioner Chris Murphy said there is no clear public benefit. “If you make a deal and agree to live up to that deal, then you cannot ask for a change after the fact,” he said.
Commissioner Richard Toole, who was on the commission and voted on the original decision in 2000, was the lone supporter of the housing plan. Mr. Toole said there were three golf course proposals at the time and many on the commission felt this was the most environmentally-friendly proposal of the three. He said he felt the applicant worked hard to meet the conditions outlined in the previous decision.
Commissioners Mimi Davisson, John Breckenridge, Pete Cabana, Ned Orleans and Chris Murphy voted to recommend denial of the project. Richard Toole cast the lone dissenting vote, while Doug Sederholm and Susan Shea abstained.
The full commission is set to begin deliberations and possibly vote on the proposal at its meeting on June 5.