The Martha’s Vineyard Commission Thursday approved a two-year extension to complete a long-planned Oak Bluffs fishing pier.
According to a letter to the MVC from Douglas H. Cameron, assistant director and deputy chief engineer from the state Department of Fish and Game, all necessary local, state and federal permits for the state-funded pier have been obtained, and the project will begin upon the final approval of funding.
Mr. Cameron told the Gazette Monday that the Department of Fish and Game is still in the process of securing funding from the state, so it was unclear when construction would begin. With all permits secured, he said the project is ready to go to construction pending funding approval.
The commission approved the project in December 2010. Plans call for a 317-foot, L-shaped public pier dedicated to fishing and accessible for people with handicaps. Vineyard surfcasters applauded the project, saying it would remedy the loss of public fishing spots.
During the original approval process, some residents of the nearby North Bluff neighborhood expressed concerns in public hearings that the pier would attract garbage and crowds, and would inhibit the ability of residents to use the North Bluff beach.
No one spoke for or against the pier at the commission meeting on Thursday night. David Nash, a member of the Martha’s Vineyard Surfcasters Association and a proponent of the project, told the Gazette Monday that he stays in regular touch with officials, and that he’s eager for the project to begin, though he understands state budgets are tight.
“People who follow [the project] are still pretty excited about this happening,” Mr. Nash said, adding that docks and wharfs are crowded. “Especially this time of year . . . if you don’t have a boat, it’s difficult,” Mr. Nash said.
“There’s just not a lot of space for a kid to fish,” he added.
In other business Thursday, the MVC continued a DRI public hearing about a proposed mixed-use development on Edgartown’s Upper Main street.
The applicants, Nils and Jayne Leaf, propose the removal of an existing residential house and guest house at 284 Main street to build a three-story, 4,850-square-foot building with commercial space on the first floor, office space on the second floor, and a three-bedroom apartment on the third floor.
A slightly larger version of the project was referred to the commission this spring, but the applicants withdrew their proposal and reapplied after some commissioners expressed reservations about the proposed size of the project.
One abutter, Arthur Smith, spoke at Thursday’s MVC meeting, saying he felt that the size and intensity were too large for the lot.
Commissioner Linda Sibley noted that there was public comment at previous hearings about the project, and said the public should know that comments during earlier public hearings, before the project was withdrawn, do not carry over to the new hearings for the project.
The commission also voted that Peter Simon’s proposal to relocate his Irie Bites food truck to Beach Road in Vineyard Haven does not merit a public hearing process before the MVC. Mr. Simon has been operating the Jamaican food truck on Main street in Vineyard Haven, and during the summer he plans to move the truck to 151 Beach Road from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. daily between July 15 and Labor Day.