Old souvenir shop to be demolished

The Oak Bluffs Zoning Appeal Board granted a special permit to demolish the building last August. —Abigail Rosen

As the famous Flying Horses Carousel gets its new paint job this fall, the adjoining gift shop will be demolished.

Demolition of the over 100-year-old Old Variety Store, located at 10 Oak Bluffs Ave., was unanimously approved via special permit by the Oak Bluffs Zoning Appeal Board last August .

Oak Bluffs building administrator Lee Ann Tavares told The Times in an email that the building department has yet to receive the demo app.

Still, building owner Joseph Moujabber told The Times that he expects demolition to be complete by November. Moujabber plans to replace the structure with a commercial building and a second floor apartment.

According to the Zoning Board of Appeals’ decision, the height of the proposed replacement structure will be approximately 25 feet and the building’s footprint “has been reduced and will not encroach on adjacent property.”

Moujabber’s application to the Oak Bluffs zoning appeal board had been referred to the Martha’s Vineyard Commission as a potential regional impact (DRI) development in June 2021, but ultimately the project was returned to the ZBA a few months later.

The demolition application was then considered by the city’s Historic District Commission and Conservation Commission – whose concern over wave runoff was resolved by a condition imposed on the project by the zoning board requiring that “a registered professional engineer must certify in writing that the activity will not cause an increase in wave runup, a diversion or channeling of flood waters, or an increase in flow velocity.

Upon approval, the project itself was deemed “no more detrimental to the neighborhood”.