At a special town meeting on Monday Chilmark voters will face a slew of town spending requests ranging from money for repairs on the fire station, police station and Squibnocket beach parking lot to design work for a new building on Menemsha harbor.
The meeting begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Chilmark Community Center. Moderator Everett H. Poole will preside over the session.
Selectmen will ask voters to spend $1,000 on design drawings for a new multipurpose building to replace the existing harbor master’s shack. The request is the one item on the warrant not backed by the town finance advisory committee.
At their regular meeting last week, selectmen brought the idea of a new building to house the harbor master, a wholesale fish buyer and other town services in front of the town shellfish advisory committee, harbor advisory committee and concerned town residents. The meeting was attended by a number of fishermen who voiced overwhelming opposition to building another, larger building on the docks. At the meeting’s end, Louis S. Larsen Jr., owner of the Net Result Fish Market in Vineyard Haven, said he would sell the town a fish shack he owns on the dock as a site for a wholesale fish buying operation.
At a selectmen’s meeting Tuesday night, board chairman Warren Doty said Mr. Larsen was away this week and the offer could not be discussed. Mr. Doty said the financial advisory committee felt circumstances had changed since the original article was written and could not recommend spending the money. “I am disappointed that they did not recommend it,” selectman Frank Fenner said, suggesting that perhaps the language of the article should be changed.
Mr. Fenner said the request at this point in time is only for money to draw up plans for a building. Any further proposal would have to come before town voters at a subsequent town meeting. Selectmen voted not to amend the wording of the article before the town meeting.
Voters on Monday will also be asked to amend town zoning bylaws to require all heated pools in the town be powered by solar thermal, geothermal or another alternative heating source. The proposed bylaw, submitted by the planning board, would also require a special permit for the installation of a pool heating system.
After deciding matters involving the waterfront and swimming pools, voters will turn their attention to town land. Three articles are on the warrant concerning a proposed land deal struck earlier this fall that involves the town, the Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank and the Hillman family, longtime summer residents of Chilmark.
In the complicated plan, the Hillmans will donate 10 acres near South Road to the town. Six of the 10 acres will be owned by the land bank and the middle of the parcel will be carved into four one-acre affordable homesites owned by the town. In exchange, the Hillmans will take ownership of the former Hollis Burton Engley house, which is currently owned by the town. A trail easement will also be moved to South Road.
The land swap will add 5.16 acres to land bank holdings. Approval from town voters and the state legislature are needed to complete the plan. Chilmark voters will be asked on Monday to endorse the plan, to give selectmen the authority to go to the state legislature for approval and to spend $45,000 to hire an engineer to survey and develop the four lots.
The Tuesday selectmen’s meeting began with a public hearing on the land swap. Arlan Wise, an abutter to the proposed project, attended and questioned selectmen about a range of issues including septic systems on the affordable lots, parking at the land bank trail head and restrictions on subsequent sales and leases of the four affordable lots. Septic systems will be built according to planning and zoning board regulations, selectmen said. They said the trail head parking lot will be small, accommodating three to four cars. And they also said there will be restrictions to keep the lots affordable for years to come. “If the town is putting money and effort into affordable lots, we want them to stay affordable,” Mr. Fenner said. Ms. Wise subsequently voiced approval for the deal. “We feel it’s important to support it,” she said.
Also on the warrant for the special town meeting are articles asking town voters to spend money for repairs to the West dock in Menemsha, one mile of North Road, the Squibnocket Beach parking lot, the Cross Road fire station, the police station and the Chilmark Community Center.