West Tisbury residents who live near the airport told the town selectmen last week that noise from low-flying planes had reached an unbearable level this summer.

Dave Stein and Henry Geller, who live in Vineyard Meadow Farms, said they believe a voluntary noise abatement program at the airport is not being followed.

Presenting the board with a detailed written report at its Wednesday meeting, both men said they were speaking for other neighbors who live southeast and southwest of the airport.

“Although the residents who purchased or built homes in the airport vicinity were aware there would be airplane noise, we never imagined blatant disregard for proper procedures. Nor did we imagine, large, very loud commercial jets flying back and forth to the Island for four months a year,” they wrote in part.

Mr. Stein, a pilot, said he built his house 10 years ago near the airport for convenience. He said he had a reasonable expectation of noise, but in recent years it has grown to an unbearable level.

“It’s the difference between not be able to continue a conversation 20 times a day, and hearing a small relatively innocuous noise,” said Mr. Geller.

A voluntary noise abatement program adopted by the airport some years ago is routinely ignored, the men said, and complaints to airport management about the problem have gone unheeded. “Although we received lip service, nothing was ever done,” the report said. “Messages left were never returned.”

The selectmen expressed sympathy for the problem but were unsure about the suggestion that the town consider adopting an ordinance, noting among other things that the airport lies in both Edgartown and West Tisbury.

Mr. Stein told the board he had spoken with the chief pilot of Cape Air several times around mid-August, who then contacted all pilots about the issue. Soon after, Mr. Stein recorded 23 Cape Air flights that still flew low directly over his house.

The selectmen suggested contacting Dan Wolf, president of Cape Air and Cape and Islands state senator. Mr. Stein said he had sent two letters to Mr. Wolf two years ago and did not receive a reply. The selectmen offered to help Mr. Stein get in touch with the senator.

The meeting began with a moment of silence and also quiet remarks for Ernest Mendendall, the recently retired town building inspector who died Sept. 15.

“He left us too soon; Ernie served the town honorably and well,” selectman Richard Knabel said.

“The kindness and compassion he had for this community . . . . people like him make our community what it is today,” said Jeffrey (Skipper) Manter 3rd.

Police chief Dan Rossi said the department is in the process of obtaining accreditation. Mr. Rossi explained the process in detail and said it will begin with a self-evaluation of the department. As a first step, selectmen agreed to endorse the department’s existing rules and regulations.

They also gave their blessing to an early-stage plan by town herring officer John Hoy to reopen the channel at James Pond. The state Division of Marine Fisheries recently sent a letter to the town urging a management plan for the north shore Great Pond, specifically pertaining to diadromous fish including, herring, eels and white perch. Mr. Hoy said the opening to the pond is badly shoaled, despite volunteer efforts last year to dig out the cut by hand. “It’s really shallow . . . . the water is about four inches deep,” he said, then describing a scene last spring when hundreds of herring became trapped in shallow pools and did not survive.

Mr. Hoy said he had since contacted riparian owners, including Bill Graham, about a plan to open the cut. Mr. Hoy said all the riparian owners are generally in favor of the idea. He said the most efficient way to do the work is with a small track excavator; he said one idea would be to use a Packer barge to bring the excavator around to the beachfront by water. He said there would be some cost, although no firm estimates have been developed, and he thought volunteer manpower could easily be recruited in the off season.

He said the state could issue an emergency order and “ram it down our throats,” but it would be better for the town to create a management plan that includes maintenance of the channel. Mr. Hoy said opening up the channel would greatly improve the health of the pond, which has become stagnant. Selectmen said they would write a letter supporting the efforts. “We’ll take it a step at a time,” board chairman Cynthia Mitchell said.