With public sentiment running high on both sides of the issue, the Martha’s Vineyard Commission convenes a public hearing in Tisbury tonight on the Stop & Shop expansion plan.
The meeting begins at 6 p.m. in the Tisbury senior center.
Commission chairman Fred Hancock said last week that he expects it to be the last hearing. The grocery chain’s expansion plan for its Water street store has been under review by the MVC as a development of regional impact (DRI) since last July. Stop & Shop wants to double the size of the store and build an adjacent parking garage. Traffic, size, scale and environmental impacts have all been issues of concern.
Tonight marks the eighth hearing before the commission; 14 members are eligible to vote, although a vote is not expected tonight.
Petitions are circulating both for and against the plan, and the commission has received a large volume of letters. Correspondence and staff reports on the plan are posted on the commission website.
A Facebook page was created urging people to attend the meeting tonight, and a petition against the project was posted online a week and a half ago. A petition generated by Stop & Shop last year in support of the plan also collected a large number of signatures.
Once the hearing is closed, the commission will begin its own process of deliberation, which includes a meeting of the land use planning committee to discuss the details of the plan and possible recommendations for conditions.
The agenda for tonight’s meeting includes staff reports discussing outstanding issues relating to the plan, mitigation offers from the developer and time allotted for public comment.