Chappaquiddick tuned in to cable TV issues


Chappaquiddick Island Association president Peter Getsinger questioned the level of Edgartown selectmen’s support for efforts to bring cable television service to Chappaquiddick, at Monday’s regular meeting.

“The level of frustration is rising, not lowering,” Mr. Getsinger said.

Four new cable conduits to Chappaquiddick, built and owned by the local electric utility NSTAR, are now complete under the harbor. NSTAR is currently negotiating with Verizon and Comcast to use excess conduit capacity to provide phone and cable television service to Chappy.

Chairman Art Smadbeck said the board was fully supportive, and actively engaged.

“It has been our first, foremost, and primary objective,” Mr. Smadbeck said. “Pam (Dolby, town administrator) has carried that message continually, has been working beyond, over, and above.”

“The group that really has to hold the feet to the fire more than anybody else is you selectmen,” Mr. Getsinger told the board. “I believe at some point, you have to tell Comcast ‘you have to get this done.'”

“We couldn’t tell them more often and more strongly than we have already told them,” chairman Art Smadbeck said.

Ms. Dolby said NSTAR and Comcast officials will meet again on May 11. “I’ve been assured those negotiations are alive and well,” Ms. Dolby said. “There’s just a lot of red tape.”

Also Monday, selectmen approved an aquaculture license for Nick Turner, who plans to grow oysters in Katama Bay, in waters leased from the town.

Reclassification of the size of Katama Bay by state officials may spur expansion of shellfish farming. By policy, Edgartown caps the area designated for aquaculture to one percent of the bay. Previously, the eight current licenses reached the limit. The expanded size designation of 1,200 acres gave Mr. Turner room to apply for a license. Shellfish constable Paul Bagnall said there is room for several more licenses under the one percent cap.

The board made two more appointments. Selectmen appointed Janice Hathaway to the council on aging, and Mark Mattison to the marine advisory committee.

In other action, selectmen set May 23 at 4 pm for a public hearing on an alcohol license application. The applicant is Patrick Courtney, who wants to establish a small restaurant at 6 South Water Street.