Chilmark selectmen approve Middle Line Road contract

Chilmark selectmen Tuesday accepted a $1,909,965 bid by Seaver Construction Inc. of Woburn to build three duplex rental housing units as part of the Middle Line Road affordable housing project (MLR).

The Middle Line Road project includes six rental units and six single-family houses built on one-acre lots awarded by lottery last January subject to 99-year leases on the land. The entire project is located on 21 acres of heavily wooded town-owned land located about a half mile down Middle Line Road, a dirt road that intersects with Tabor House Road near the town landfill.

According to Tim Carroll, Chilmark administrative secretary, the breakdown of the proposed contract price by Seaver is: general contractor, $1,354,000; electrical, Powers Electric, $117,610; roofing, Meadows Construction, $58,000; HVAC, Walter Smith, $151,380;plumbing, Walter Smith, $182,975; painting allowance, $46,000.

Seaver Construction has five days to submit a signed contract and the required bonds.

Mr. Carroll said local builder Holmes Hole joined the bidding process, but made a filing error that could not be rectified once bids had been submitted and was consequently disqualified.

In other business, selectmen Frank Fenner and Warren Doty set August 14 for the annual Chilmark Road Race. Selectman Jonathan Mayhew was unable to attend the meeting.

Selectmen also discussed an ongoing project to create a distributed antenna system (DAS) intended to boost cellular phone signals up-Island.

Mr Carroll said that American Tower Corporation (ATC) recently signed AT&T, the first carrier to lease space on the system, and would begin discussing locations for the antennas and the system construction with Chilmark and Aquinnah. West Tisbury has not yet agreed to be part of the DAS system, which could complicate plans for the overall system design.

“There are still a lot of things up in the air,” Mr. Doty said, “What has been decided is ATC has signed one carrier, and with one carrier they are a go.”

DAS relies on a series of antennas set on telephone poles to distribute cellular telephone signals. DAS appeals to communities where a high conventional tower is unwelcome, but where wireless telephone service is poor.

ATC is in the DAS and tower building and leasing business. Once a system is erected, ATC leases space to wireless carriers.

Although West Tisbury was part of the original discussion, town officials and residents there could not agree about permitting requirements and the extent of the wireless communication benefits the system would provide in a town with existing tall towers.

In other business, selectmen approved a request from the Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation to mow and use a field by the Engley House for parking for trail walks.

Selectmen also approved a request from Verizon Wireless to again place a mobile cellular signal boosting trailer at the central office by Chilmark School, and approved the annual Rotary Club Bicycle Challenge, to be held in October.

Selectmen also supported a letter from Edgartown selectmen to the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital asking the hospital to help find housing for the Martha’s Vineyard Center for Living, possibly in the old hospital buildings, and to help fund the Dukes County Health Care Access program.