Extra money to cover the cost of building a parking lot at the new town library and more fine tuning in the controversial rules for dogs on Lambert’s Cove Beach are the issues that top a special town meeting warrant in West Tisbury on Tuesday.
A new parking lot connecting the library and Howes House will cost $145,000 more than originally planned for the new $6 million library, and voters will be asked to pay $46,000, or one third of the bill.
The 10-article warrant also includes an amendment to a town bylaw that would require dogs to be leashed on town property at all times and a request for funding for new staff to enforce dog walking regulations at Lambert’s Cove Beach.
The meeting begins at 7 p.m. at the West Tisbury School. Moderator F. Patrick Gregory will preside over the special session.
The parking lot has been an ongoing planning puzzle for the new town library, in part because of a deed restriction that was attached to the land when it was gifted from Gladys Jones to the town in 1976. The restriction prohibits significant areas of blacktop, and as a result the library building committee was forced to reexamine its plan for the 20,000-square-foot parking lot. The committee is now recommending that the lot be built using a combination of concrete connecting blocks and asphalt paving, with the blocks in the parking spaces and asphalt in the surrounding driving area. At the town selectmen’s meeting this week, board chairman Cynthia Mitchell said the Jones family supports the latest plan. She also relayed that the family’s liaison, Douglas Jones, said the family wanted as much greenery in the space as possible.
The parking lot was originally budgeted at $185,000, but after the deed question was raised and the building committee was forced to look to other options, new cost estimates were developed. The cost for the entire parking lot is now around $330,000, building committee chairman Leah Smith said this week.
If voters agree, the article will be funded using $20,000 in remaining funds from the town hall renovation project, $1,700 from the library parking lot light article voted at the 2010 annual town meeting, and $24,290 from free cash. The committee plans to ask the West Tisbury Library Foundation, which has raised private monies for the library project, to help pay for the remainder.
Earlier this month the building committee cut $422,000 in what Mrs. Smith called unnecessary expenses from the library project, by deleting a patio, reducing the size of the children’s reading porch area, replacing cedar walls with precast concrete panels and reducing the number of skylights.
With the cuts, the library project is on budget and due to come in at a little over $6 million for the 14,000-square-foot facility, Mrs. Smith said. The project is being funded from three sources: a $2.98 million state grant from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners, awarded nearly a year ago, $1.5 million in town funds approved by voters at the annual town meeting in April, and $1.57 million from the library foundation and the Friends of the West Tisbury Library.
Library trustee and foundation spokesman Dan Waters said this week that the foundation and friends group had reached their fund-raising goals, and while it is no longer a “full court press,” fund-raising will continue throughout the summer to raise money to make “a great library even better.”
“They’re optional but we feel like we’re on a roll and people have supported us incredibly up until this point,” Mr. Waters said.
There are still questions about the environmental impacts from the project, especially on the Mill Pond watershed. Two weeks ago the Martha’s Vineyard Commission land use planning committee recommended the project did not need to be reviewed as a development of regional impact on condition that it would not increase the nitrogen load in the watershed. Mrs. Smith said the requirement was satisfied by converting three of the five bathrooms in the building to composting toilets. The full commission has not yet voted on whether the project needs more review.
Before voters tackle the parking lot issue they will take up a series of dog-related articles. Voters will be asked to approve amending the dog bylaw to require dogs to be leashed at all times on public property and pick up their dogs’ waste. The amendment also sets fines for violators, and allows the animal control officer and police to impound loose dogs.
The issue of dogs on Lambert’s Cove Beach has been a subject of discussion for more than a year. At the annual town meeting in April voters approved an amendment to an earlier bylaw that would have banned dogs on the beach in the summer months. The new bylaw will allow dogs from 7 to 10 a.m. in the summer. On Tuesday voters will be asked to fund two positions to enforce the bylaw amendment: an assistant animal control officer at a cost of $6,500, and an additional parking lot attendant at a cost of $9,100.
A new parks and recreation proposed bylaw asks voters to give the department, which oversees the town’s open spaces land including Lambert’s Cove Beach, authority to enforce their regulations and also sets up a fine schedule of $50 for the first offense, $100 for the second offense and $250 for the third and subsequent offenses. Employees of the department, police and animal control officers are authorized to enforce the regulations.
Other spending articles include a request to transfer $4,000 from a 2010 annual town meeting article to fund a new basketball program at the West Tisbury School, and $8,300 for the town’s share of staff training for the Tri-Town Ambulance Service.