Dear Chair Fiola and Chair Oliveira,
We write in support of Bill S.2467, to Change the Name and Membership of the Nantucket Planning & Economic Development Commission (NP&EDC). We have homes in Monomoy, a residential area in Nantucket and are members of Monomoy’s active, committed civic association (MCA).
We have dealt with the NP&EDC on many occasions, most frequently as part of our creation of the Monomoy Area Plan. From that experience we strongly believe that the NP&EDC needs to be restructured and made more accountable to the people it is charged with serving.
In the fall of 2021 the NP&EDC unanimously approved Monomoy’s undertaking the creation of a local area plan for its geographic area. The NP&EDC provided to Monomoy a set of guidelines for preparing such a plan and unanimously approved the geographic boundaries suggested by Monomoy and the composition of the Working Group that would lead the effort by Monomoy.
Based on this, Monomoy spent over 800 volunteer hours creating a state-of-the-art plan. The recommendations made in the MAP were based on a survey Monomoy prepared and sent to homeowners in its area. By June 2022 Monomoy had completed its plan and presented the 90-page draft to Andrew Vorce, then the executive director of the NP&EDC. Mr. Vorce expressed the view that the plan would readily be accepted by the NP&EDC and published for public comment.
The NP&EDC put the MAP on its September 2022 agenda. Monomoy had every reason to expect its acceptance, not only because Mr. Vorce had said as much, but also because the plan is exemplary in every way. Commissioner Barry Rector of the NP&EDC derailed the process, however. In their meeting of September 18, 2022, Mr. Rector said that the Monomoy Area Plan, all 90 pages of it, was “a good start.” When Monomoy asked what else needed to be done and when the NP&EDC would consider the MAP again, the NP&EDC declined to provide answers.
It has been more than a year, and the NP&EDC has still not put the MAP on its agenda for acceptance and publication. Instead, in July 2023 the NP&EDC drafted new guidelines for the creation of local area plans which it aimed to apply retroactively to Monomoy, which would have required discarding 800+ volunteer hours and basically starting over. Some people on the NP&EDC expressed their concern about retroactive application of the new draft guidelines, understanding that to do so would be blatantly unfair. Still, no final decision has been made by the NP&EDC, and Monomoy’s local area plan remains in limbo.
The NP&EDC is insular and resistant to public input. Bill S.2467 would go a long way to remedying this insularity and reminding the planning commission that it is accountable to the public it is supposed to serve.
The Monomoy Area Plan can be viewed on the MCA website at https://mcanantucket.org/MAP.
We respectfully ask that your committee report favorably on Bill S.2467.
Ken Roman, President, Monomoy Civic Association
Franci Neely and Matthew Westfall, Co-Chairs, Monomoy Area Plan Working Group