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The Vineyard Gazette – Martha’s Vineyard News

The Martha’s Vineyard Commission voted 10-1 Thursday to allow Amelia Hambrecht to move the Caleb Prouty Whaling House from downtown Vineyard Haven to her property on Lagoon Pond Road.

Ms. Hambrecht still must obtain a city permit before she can have the boarded-up house moved from the Stop & Shop building on Cromwell Lane and installed on the subdivided lot where she lives a quarter-mile away.

Stop & Shop has not yet submitted an application outlining its plans for the Cromwell Lane site once the house is gone.

Ben Robinson was the only commissioner to vote against Ms. Hambrecht’s plan, saying he could not support the removal of the historic home without understanding what would replace it on the Stop & Shop lot.

“Without knowing what that redevelopment looks like, it seems like a mistake,” Mr Robinson said.

“It feels like we’re making a decision without all the information,” he said.

Stop & Shop has been trying for more than two decades to get rid of the Prouty house, which the grocery giant bought in 2012 with the intention of demolishing it to expand the adjacent supermarket.

The company changed its plan after the Massachusetts Historical Commission determined that the Greek Revival house, built around 1838 for sailor Caleb Prouty, is eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.

The City of Tisbury Historical Commission also supports preserving the house, which survived the fast-moving fire that destroyed dozens of downtown buildings in August 1883.

Ms Hambrecht’s application first came to the committee in 2019, but was sidelined during the pandemic before the public hearing started early this year.

She plans to renovate the Prouty home as a home for her son and his family, Ms. Hambrecht told the committee.

According to her application, the two homes together will not exceed the five-bedroom limit on the property’s septic system.

Some farmers in the Lagoon Pond Road neighborhood objected during the public hearing that began in March, saying the house did not fit their neighborhood.

But commissioners determined that preserving the neglected structure as housing will be a net benefit to the community.

Thursday’s approval includes a condition requiring bricks from the Prouty house’s chimney to be offered for reuse and another condition requiring both Stop & Shop and Ms. Hambrecht to place historical markers on the house on the edge of their properties .

Stop & Shop will also have to have the Massachusetts Historic Commission investigate the Cromwell Lane site before any excavation work can begin there.

The Prouty home will be moved in September by the same mover that managed the Safe Harbor Marina office building last year, Ms. Hambrecht told the committee.

On Thursday, commissioners voted 8-4, among other things, to approve the installation of three submarine power cables for the New England Wind 2 wind energy project.

Like previously approved cables for the Vineyard Wind project, the export lines will run from wind turbines south of the island, through Muskeget Channel to Cape Cod.

Commissioners expressed mixed feelings about the project, which will require dredging the seabed to a depth of more than five feet.

“We need to recognize that digging up the seabed is not a good thing,” says Linda Sibley.

“We have recognized that, (and) that will be offset by energy production,” Chairman Fred Hancock said.

Committee members Kate Putnam and Brian Smith both said they distrust the wind energy business.

“I am a straight no for this sector,” Mr Smith said.

“I agree with Brian,” Ms. Putnam said.

Greg Martino and Clarence (Trip) Barnes joined Mr. Smith and Ms. Putnam in voting against the cables.

On Thursday, the commission also opened its public hearing on a revived application to subdivide Flat Point Farm in West Tisbury.

Members of the Fischer family, which has owned the 250-acre farm on the Tisbury Great Pond for generations, want to create two agricultural plots and 13 residential plots, two of which have guesthouse rights.

Two large parcels of the farm are already under agricultural conservation restrictions and one of them has been leased to the Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank for the next century.