Effective June 1, boaters in Vineyard Haven waterways will be restricted to three days on an anchor. The Tisbury selectmen unanimously voted to approve an amendment to the town anchoring regulations after a public hearing Tuesday.
The amendment proposed by the harbor management committee aims to create uniform anchoring rules for Lake Tashmoo and Lagoon Pond. A three-day limit on anchoring in the Lagoon already existed, but there was no written record of a rule for Tashmoo.
Harbor management committee member Michael Jampel said the group also intended to keep better records of boats at anchor, particularly the number of people on board and the frequency of pump-out, in order to help manage the health of Tashmoo and the Lagoon, both of which are in danger of nitrogen overload.
There was some discussion about adopting an anchorage fee in order to help cover personnel costs for monitoring anchorage durations and tracking boater data, but town resident Lynne Fraker pointed out that under rights of navigation, no fee could be charged unless there was proof the boat was no longer transient. Others said a fee would discourage visitors from making day trips to the Island harbors.
“[Visitors] are a resource — we should welcome them, we should thank them,” said Morgan Douglas.
Harbor master Jay Wilbur said his staff could likely handle the new responsibilities with no difficulty.
The selectmen then considered applying the three-day limit to anchoring in the harbor, which Mr. Wilbur said also would make sense.
“In the harbor, people tend to just leave their boats there for the summer, and then we’re dealing with their problem,” he said. “Boats are meant to sail and cruise and such, not be stuck on an anchor in the same place for the summer. So three days shouldn’t be a problem.”
Enforcement of the new regulation, particularly in the harbor, would have a “learning curve,” Mr. Wilbur said. “But I think something is better than nothing.”
Newly elected selectman Melinda Loberg, who was attending her first meeting, agreed. “Think about the harbor as a big parking lot,” she said. “We have parking limits all over town — we do that because we do want turnover, and to free up space.”
In other business, the board took no immediate action on a proposed change to the terms of the town’s contract with the Cape and Vineyard Electric Cooperative for a solar array at the capped landfill. The change would alter how energy credits are dispersed among cooperative members. Selectman Tristan Israel said he was uncomfortable with significant contract changes being made as the project is already being installed. The board postponed a decision in order to study the contract further.
Liz Wild of the Vineyard Haven Marina and Morgan Douglas of the Black Dog Tall Ships appeared to request the selectmen’s support in ensuring that an upcoming pump-out regulation appears on harbor management committee agendas in September. The regulation, which goes into effect in January 2015, requires private marina owners to provide a discharge facility for their customers.
“This discussion has only come up once briefly over the winter; it’s never come up on the agenda,” Ms. Wild said. Selectmen said they would speak with harbor management to help with planning.
The board approved a request from NSTAR to install a 100-foot underground feed to the new Vineyard House campus, as well as a request from town fire chief John Schilling to transfer $5,000 from the reserve fund. The money will be used to repair the water tank on the town’s rescue truck, which split open.
“A fire truck that won’t hold water is a limited fire truck,” Mr. Schilling said.
Several other appointments were made during the meeting, including five police traffic officers, 13 crossing guards and eight police special officers. The board also appointed Douglas Reece to the wastewater planning committee and Caroline Little to the conservation commission.
The board voted to elect Jonathan Snyder chairman for the next year, and welcomed Mrs. Loberg to the board. She was appointed to the county advisory board as the selectmen’s representative.
They also approved the 14th annual Murdick’s Run the Chop Challenge, to be held July 4, as well as the annual town Memorial Day parade, which steps off at 10 a.m. on Monday from the American Legion building.