Editors, Vineyard Gazette:
I found architect David Handlin’s letter published on August 10 in defense of building enormous homes on the Vineyard specious on many fronts. Nowhere does he confront the issues which I have seen raised at town meetings and in letters over the year — consideration of our neighbors, maintaining the aesthetic of a community we love, and supporting a collective need to protect nature. Rather, he creates smokescreens in his letter by asserting that change and evolution are inevitable — who could argue with that? The question is what kind of change? One need not look far across the water, let alone the country and planet, to see the disastrous consequences of pillaging our natural resources.
Another smokescreen Mr. Handlin writes about is a sense that people’s disdain for large homes stem from cultural elitism — we don’t want “those kind of people.” And so he argues that “it takes all kinds.” Who could argue with that? But wait! That is not the discussion here. It is the 10,000 or 20,000-square-foot complexes that shift the landscape of the Island that has mobilized people. And these structures will remain well after the occupants are gone. Perhaps Mr. Handlin is hoping that such false arguments will lead people to hop over the elephant in the room. But it is too late. These structures — encouraged by architects who are in a singular position to limit the scope of their clients’ dream houses to human scale — are now in clear view.