With rare swiftness, the Martha’s Vineyard Commission unanimously approved a major redevelopment plan at the site of the former Santander Bank in downtown Vineyard Haven, calling the 11-unit condominium and commercial complex an innovative use.
“This is a really creative, and positive, project for the location,” commissioner Linda Sibley said before the vote Thursday night.
Known as the Old Stone Bank development — named after the historic stone and terra-cotta tile Santander building on Vineyard Haven’s Main street — the project is being developed by architect Sam Dunn.
The mixed-use development includes the renovation of two existing buildings on the property and the construction of five additional structures for a total of 11 condominiums and six commercial units, stretching from Main street to the Vineyard Haven harbor. The project will include about 11,000 total square feet of residential and retail space surrounding footpaths and a courtyard in the middle of the long, T-shaped parcel.
One of the 11 units will be deed-restricted for affordable housing and listed for sale at just over $250,000. The other units will be marketed to empty nesters and priced between $600,000 and $1.3 million, according to project plans.
The MVC land use subcommittee had previously recommended the approval of the project, with a laundry list of conditions.
On Thursday, commissioners went through the conditions, which require that all commercial space in the development be reserved for retail or office use, and that all housing units are year-round with strict limits on short-term rentals. The applicant will also be required to contribute $73,600 to an affordable housing commission or project in Tisbury.
The commission also required that the project use air-pump heat sourcing, but stopped short of requiring water heaters to be electric rather than propane. Other conditions include public access to the beach portion of the property to maintain access to Owen Park from the Steamship Authority terminal, and a requirement that the rebuilt stone bank building retain its terra cotta tile roof.
The Tisbury sewer commission has approved two separate requests that increase the property’s daily sewer flow from 904 gallons to 2,310. The town wastewater facility is nearly at capacity, limiting other developments across the town.
After approving the conditions, commissioners went through the project’s benefits and detriments with uncharacteristic alacrity, agreeing that the project’s substantial wastewater allotment, location near the harbor and stormwater concerns presented slight detriments. Commissioners also noted that the town has articulated long-term planning goals to protect the fragile Vineyard Haven harbor, and focus development on the State Road business district. They also agreed that the proposed project was appropriate in light of those concerns.
“The town is actively planning to protect this low-lying area so that development can continue in some form,” commissioner Ben Robinson said. “In light of that, I think it is appropriate, the way it is being proposed here.”
Commissioners also unanimously agreed that the benefits to housing and the downtown area outweighed wastewater and other issues.
“If you are going to build anything in this particular location, this is as good as it is going to get,” commissioner Doug Sederholm said. “It’s a very innovative and positive development.”