Chilmark selectmen approve concrete pier design


Chilmark selectmen have approved building specifications for the new West Dock car-way to replace the one that was destroyed in the Menemsha fire in July. The plan is to publish a request for proposals next week and hire a contractor in December.

Selectmen reviewed plans from engineer Kent Healy that call for the 500-foot long timber connector to the Menemsha fill pier to be removed and replaced in the same place by a new 15-foot wide pier made of precast reinforced concrete planks resting on 15-foot pile caps.

At their regular meeting Tuesday selectmen praised the plans, but did make some minor adjustments. They increased the elevation of the wave wall at the base of the pier by approximately one foot to reduce the amount of overflow during high tides.

Mr. Healy said the idea of the lower wall was to increase circulation in the harbor, but selectmen questioned the logic of a lower wave wall that could be breached every high tide.

“It’s one thing to have high tides on occasion going over, but every high tide seems too low,” selectman Jonathan Mayhew said.

Police Chief Brian Cioffi provided an update on the investigation into the cause of the fire that destroyed the town pier and Coast Guard boathouse. Mr. Cioffi said that at a meeting attended by representatives for the Coast Guard, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and the state Fire Marshal’s Office, he learned that a final report on the cause of the fire is close.

“I would like to see it wrapped up before Thanksgiving. I think it’s a plausible thing . . . I think everything is compiled and done,” he said.

Selectmen also heard from Michael Loberg, a member of the Tisbury board of health, about a collaborative effort between the six Island boards of health to complete a comprehensive study of Lyme disease and possibly reduce tick-borne illness on the Island.

Mr. Loberg said the effort was unprecedented in that it involves health officials from all six Island towns. He said the Chilmark selectmen would be the last to endorse the group, which will now seek funding from the federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

The group will also seek funding from the Martha’s Vineyard Community Health Initiative, which allocates funds provided by the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital. The hospital is required by the Department of Public Health to donate approximately $1 million to community health initiatives as part of its recent renovation and expansion.

Mr. Loberg said the group hopes to have a recommendation for combating Lyme disease by the end of 2012, with implementation to take place the following two years.

“I think the recommendations that come back to you will be data-driven and supportable,” Mr. Loberg said.

Selectmen voted to support a resolution to encourage the Chilmark board of health to work with the other towns and support the request for funding from the Martha’s Vineyard Community Health Initiative.

Selectmen also voted to appoint a building committee for the Tea Lane Farmhouse, naming selectmen Frank Fenner, Lenny Jason, and Dick Smith to the panel that will oversee plans to renovate, repair, and possibly rebuild the historic farmhouse.

Selectmen also nixed a proposal to rent the farmhouse to a tenant this winter while officials work on plans to renovate the building

“I’m not really interested in entering into any kind of lease right now,” selectman Frank Fenner said. “We need accessibility to that building. We don’t need to be interfered with by not being able to get in there at certain times.”