The West Tisbury selectmen this week denied a request to remove more trees to accommodate construction of the new West Tisbury library and adjacent parking lot.
Building committee chairman Linda Hearn told the selectmen Wednesday that her group recently learned from NStar that the company needs to build an underground electrical vault near the road. Three additional trees need to be removed to make way for the vault, Mrs. Hearn said.
“I have to say I find this totally unacceptable. We went through an agonizing process,” selectman and board chairman Richard Knabel said. “Why wasn’t the electrical service brought up at that time?”
“I don’t like it any better than you do, but it has to be completed in order to do the work,” Mrs. Hearn responded.
The selectmen and library committee negotiated for months late last year over how many trees could be taken down for the project. In October the selectmen approved a phased plan over several years to take down 13 trees. Mrs. Hearn also asked that three of the trees slated to come down over the next few years come down now, because the roots would likely interfere with the paving.
Mr. Knabel said the request “obviates all the work that was done last fall, and I think it makes us look pretty foolish.” He asked to inspect the proposed trees.
Selectman Jeffrey (Skipper) Manter 3rd agreed.
“Believe it or not, I concur with your feelings and then some,” he said.
In other business, the board signed a contract with Cape and Vineyard Electric Cooperative (CVEC) to build a large solar array at the town landfill. The 800-kilowatt system is expected to produce enough power for town buildings and the West Tisbury School at an annual cost savings of some $64,000. The contract is for 20 years. CVEC will lease the land from the town and build the arrays at no cost to the town.
Mr. Knabel spoke out against the proposal, questioning whether in the end it will be cost-effective for the town. “I strongly urge we reject this project and seek an alternative,” he said.
The vote was 2-0, with Mr. Knabel abstaining.
The selectmen also approved a beer and wine license for the Plane View Restaurant at the airport. Restaurant owner Robert Jackson said he would have someone on staff at all times who was trained to check identification and handle beer and wine. The restaurant has already received approval from the Martha’s Vineyard Airport Commission.
The vote was unanimous.
“Cheers,” Mr. Manter said.