Closing a chapter in a seven-year discussion and negotiation process, Tisbury selectmen signed a memorandum of understanding on Tuesday with Thomas and Ginny Payette regarding a stand of trees at the Tashmoo Overlook.
Under the terms of the MOU, which was signed at a well-attended selectmen’s meeting, the Payettes agreed to allow town crews onto their property to restore the Tashmoo viewshed to the vista as it existed in 2011, when an earlier agreement was negotiated between the town and the owners. Trimming a large willow tree originally planted in 1971 is planned, town administrator John (Jay) Grande told the Gazette on Thursday, as is pruning and in some cases removal of other vegetation such as shrubs, red maples, swamp maples and cherry trees.
Mr. Grande said the MOU was a way to formalize the negotiation process, and that the town would be looking into enhancing the overlook view on town-owned property, where there is also heavy growth of vegetation.
Attending Tuesday’s meeting were members of the Save the View citizens’ committee, formed in 2007. The group presented images and diagrams of a proposed alternative, which recommended the town take a viewshed easement to restore the view to what it was in 1907, while planting trees at a lower point on the Tashmoo hillside to ensure the Payettes’ privacy.
“We again ask that the selectmen look at the whole picture, a much grander picture,” committee chairman Patricia Carlet said. The committee’s proposal would “restore to the town of Tisbury . . . not this narrow view corridor but the entire scenic vista.” Members of the committee had been watching the view disappear for years, she said.
Richard Washington, who lives on abutting Plum Cove Road, noted that many of the viewshed issues are on town property, not just the private Payette land. “There’s quite a bit to be done there,” he said.
Discussion lasted just over an hour. Others voiced concern about some of the legal language of the MOU, which stipulated that neither party would take adversarial action against one another. The MOU will be reviewed annually, and has a 10-year term.
Selectman and board chairman Jeffrey Kristal said the MOU was “an intent to do right by both parties.”
Mr. Grande said that the finalized MOU was “from my view, a very good balance between private and public interest.” Litigation was not mentioned during the process of its creation, he said, and the Payettes “all the way along . . . were acknowledging the public interest.”
The MOU was signed by Mr. Kristal and selectman Tristan Israel. Selectman Jonathan Snyder recused himself from discussions and signing, as he is an abutter to the overlook.
In other business, the parking lot at the site of the old fire station is now in use, with at least eight spaces remaining for lease.
Selectmen continued discussion of the NStar installation of telephone poles along Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road, deciding to write a letter to NStar asking crews to cease the installation until a meeting could be arranged between the board and the utility company. On Monday night the Martha’s Vineyard Commission land use planning committee voted to recommend that the full commission review the poles as a development of regional impact. A formal vote was expected last night.
“The pole installation . . . has changed the character of that roadway,” Mr. Grande said. “As Mr. Israel pointed out [at a previous meeting], it looks like an industrial utility corridor.”
Selectmen approved a busker permit for Eric Johnson and Family, renewed a license for the Capawock Theatre and approved a request from the Tisbury firemen’s association to close a portion of Main street on Sept. 1 to host the association’s seventh annual car show. Event coordinator Ken Maciel said he expected more than 80 vehicles to be displayed.