Chilmark selectmen approve creek leases

Chilmark selectmen, meeting Tuesday, agreed to a request by police Chief Brian Cioffi to create a handicap parking spot by Dutcher Dock.

Chief Cioffi told selectmen Frank Fenner, Warren Doty, and Jonathan Mayhew that a boater had approached him about the need for the handicap spot. Selectmen also voted to create a loading and unloading zone on the dock.

In other harbor-related action, selectmen renewed annual leases for the town’s creek lots for Christopher Murphy, Dennis Jason (Chilmark harbormaster), John Larsen, and Walter Jenkinson.

Chilmark currently leases its seven creek lots to commercial fishermen for an annual $10 fee, as part of a longstanding effort to preserve the working character of its harbor.

Selectmen examined a long list of appropriations created by town meetings. Town accountant Emily R. Day prepared the list for them. Mr. Fenner said several town accounts had been opened and carried over from previous fiscal years. He moved to close the account associated with any warrant article as old as five years or older, unless written notice of why it should not be closed was received.

One example is an ongoing study of Tisbury Great Pond by the Massachusetts Estuary Project. The town has set aside $13,750 for the project, jointly funded by Chilmark, West Tisbury, and the state.

“We’re all very frustrated by the Mass. Estuary Project,” Mr. Doty said, before the motion requiring written explanation was approved.

In other business, John Armstrong asked the board for a shellfish grant in Menemsha Pond. Mr. Fenner said the pond has room for more shellfishing lots that could be added if enough interest were generated. Selectmen told Mr. Armstrong to continue the application process and that a public hearing to increase the number of beds would be advertised and discussed at the next meeting.

Mr. Doty briefed the board on the ongoing Tea Lane Farm project. He said that a summer-special police officer and two Land Bank employees were now housed in the old farmhouse and that a home inspection had been completed. Selectmen then discussed the overall condition of the property and what repairs might cost. Mr. Doty said an estimate is being prepared.

In other business, selectmen approved hiring the Boston-based law firm Epstein and August, as part of a joint effort with other Island towns to renegotiate a cable television contract with Comcast. Selectmen allotted $2,000 for that purpose.

“I would like to point out that their rate of $205 an hour is a very affordable rate,” Mr. Doty said.

Selectmen also appointed Wes Brighton to the shellfish advisory committee.