West Tisbury selectmen last week approved a list of commercial events to be held at the Ag Hall this year over the lone objection of selectman Jeffrey (Skipper) Manter 3rd, who raised concerns about increasing noise and traffic in the Island’s quiet midsection.

The list of events had been previously signed off on by the Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society, town counsel, the town conservation commission and the Vineyard Conservation Society, according to Julie Scott, vice president of the Ag Society. VCS and the town are responsible for interpreting an agricultural preservation restriction (APR) that was placed on the 23-acre parcel of land when it was acquired by the town from Island conservationists Edwin and Jeanne Woods, who wanted to ensure it was used primarily for agricultural purposes. Interpretion of the restriction has been a source of contention over the years.

Mr. Manter said his worries were focused on the proposed six weddings and three artisan fairs, adding there were noise complaints from abutters about horse shows held on the grounds of the Ag Society. All other non-commercial events, such as banquets and community events, did not draw any criticism.

“I am not against any of these events, it is my compassion for the property,” Mr. Manter said. “To me it has just gone beyond the original intent, that is where I raise my concern.”

Board chairman Cynthia Mitchell and selectman Kent Healy said they stood with the recommendation of the conservation commission and the VCS and did not want to hinder the events, which have benefited the local artisan community. 

“As to the characterization of the events, when I think of artisan fairs, while they are technically commercial they are really community events,” Mrs. Mitchell said. “It is supporting local artisans . . . to view it as commercial is not exactly how I would characterize it.” 

Hunter Moorman, who attended the meeting with the intent of voicing his concern for the level of noise at the horse shows which abut his property, instead chose to voice his support for the Ag Society events. 

“I think the fact that the conservation committee has blessed this, basically, is a very strong basis for your deciding to go ahead with [the events],” he said. “I understand your concerns, Skipper. I have some concerns about the loudspeaker, but on the whole I think this has gone well and is something we should support.”

In the end all events were approved with Mr. Manter casting the lone dissenting vote. 

In other business, selectmen unanimously agreed to let town meeting voters consider a nonbinding resolution for the town to completely eliminate its dependence on fossil fuels by 2040.

The warrant article was sought by Richard Andre, president of Vineyard Power, who favored a more aggressive goal than the state target of 75 per cent reduction in fossil fuels by 2040.

Selectman Kent Healy, who ultimately agreed to place the resolution on the warrant, said he thought it set unrealistic expectations.

“In 2011, we imported 15 million gallons of fuel,” he said. “I commend you on your efforts, and good luck, but it is going to be very difficult.” 

Also at the meeting, selectmen signed a letter of support authorizing the Community Preservation Committee to seek a state grant to conduct an engineering study for the development of a two-mile shared use path on Old County Road. Selectmen recently designated the land as recreational in order to secure the state grant, which would be matched by a $125,000 warrant article that will be presented at town meeting. 

Selectmen also approved the installation of a 20,000-gallon underground fuel tank to replace two existing smaller tanks at Up-Island Automotive.