I am an interested party, owning a home adjacent to Squibnocket Farm, and ask that readers consider the following.
All parties to this debate agree that Squibnocket Farms will lose personal, utility and emergency access to our properties due to erosion and rising ocean levels. It is not a question of if but when.
Chilmark has already lost practically all use of its Squibnocket town beach and the adjacent parking lot revetment is crumbling. This beach has been a major, widely used, town asset which was created many years ago through the partnering of Chilmark, predecessors to Squibnocket Farm and the Hornblower family.
Starting several years ago, recognizing the inevitable, Squibnocket Farm began work to solve the twin problems of beach and home access, eventually developing a plan that was acceptable to the town and highly likely to be permitable. This plan encompasses an elevated causeway for home access paid for by Squibnocket Farms, purchase of adjacent VOLF land for a similar-sized new town parking lot with new beach access also paid for by Squibnocket Farms, and the grant of a 100-year lease of these properties for a nominal sum at no cost to the taxpayers. Without doubt, a major win-win for the town, the public and Squibnocket Farms.
Despite these efforts having being made public over the last 18 months, accompanied by numerous open meetings, very recently a group of abutters objected to the plan and proposed an alternative concept, accompanied by no workable plans.
In theory, their concept is enticing, theorizing that it might be possible to retain the current beach, relocate the parking lot onto private property to be purchased from several abutters, and significantly re-routing the Squibnocket Farm access causeway.
However, most environmental consultants believe that even if the concept becomes a plan, it contains two major environmental flaws that would prevent it from be permitted, even if taken to the state level.
In summary, I ask that the voters of Chilmark consider (and vote for) the only workable plan on the ballot and one that brings invaluable benefits to the town that may never again be available . . . all because a small, highly vocal group of self-interested abutters feel that the plan would diminish the value of their views.