The Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Coast Guard and state officials have approved preliminary plans for the new West Dock in Menemsha. Engineer Kent Healy and a draftsman are finalizing bid specifications for the project to rebuild the car-way destroyed in the July 12 fire.
Chilmark executive secretary Tim Carroll told the selectmen at their meeting Tuesday if everything stays on schedule, construction should be complete by May 1, at which point electricians can install power cables with the aim of completing their work by June.
The town will issue a request for proposals next month and hopes to award the project on Dec. 7. At last month’s special town meeting, voters approved the town to borrow $1.5 million for the project; however the Massachusetts Seaport Advisory Council awarded the town $200,000 for the project two weeks ago. Selectmen chairman Warren Doty said they will apply for the balance in the next fiscal year.
The selectmen also approved three committees for the Tea Lane Farm House project. Each committee will have three representatives and will include a farmhouse design committee, a committee of farmers to decide how to enrich the soil, and a committee to decide the future of both the house and the fields.
Mr. Carroll suggested renting the house for the year, but Mr. Doty and selectman Jonathan Mayhew were uncomfortable making a decision without selectman Frank Fenner, who was absent from the meeting.
Chilmark voters approved $30,000 to spend on a new plan for the town landmark at the special town meeting, and each committee will present their findings at the annual town meeting in April. The selectmen decided to stay under $10,000 for designs and as a result will not have to go through a formal design selection process.
In other business, the selectmen approved a commercial bay scallop season to open Nov. 1 at a two bushel a day limit. Chilmark shellfish constable Isaiah Scheffer also requested a small portion of Menemsha Pond be closed to all fishing for the winter in order to protect new seed. Selectmen approved the northeast corner of Menemsha Pond near Pease’s Point to be closed for the season.
Former Chilmark librarian Catherine Thompson was appointed to the planning board to replace the late Russell Walton. There are additional positions available on the planning board, finance advisory committee and personnel board.
Lastly, the state Farm Services Agency will host two forums today at the VTA building in the Airport Business Park, one at 11 a.m. for farmers and another at 1 p.m. for fishermen. The selectmen will also meet with Coast Guard officials today at 3 p.m. at the Coast Guard station for an update on the investigation into the cause of the July 12 fire.