OB selectmen not buying Tony’s Market plea to reverse parking ban


Oak Bluffs selectmen decided not to reverse new parking regulations voted at their June 28 meeting restricting street parking on Dukes County Avenue to three spots directly in front of Tony’s Market.

“Safety is our primary concern,” selectman Greg Coogan said. “At this point, ripping those signs out would be a mistake.”

Dave Richardson, owner of Tony’s Market and a former town meeting moderator, offered an impassioned plea to reverse the parking ban, lasting more than an hour. He presented the board with more than 500 signatures on a petition, and told selectmen their action resulted in a $4,000 per week drop in sales at his store. Mr. Richardson felt he had been left out of the decision, and questioned the timing.

“We don’t need to have the rug pulled out from under us the day before the Fourth of July,” Mr. Richardson said.

In other action town counsel Ron Rappaport told the board his initial examination of bidding procedures for work awarded to Crossland Landscape, Farrissey Telecom, Rebello’s Island Hydroseed, and Russell’s Excavation shows that some of the work was bid properly, and some was not. He said in all cases, the town has stopped improperly awarding work to those contractors.

“For me to continue to do additional work when we know some of the work has been done improperly and has stopped, was not really a good use of town resources,” Mr. Rappaport said. “I’m going to stop spending my time and your money.”

Mr. Rappaport said the office of attorney general, which has reviewed bidding irregularities, agreed further work was unnecessary: “They are really looking, as we all are, just to move forward.”

As part of its review, the attorney general has ordered Oak Bluffs to conduct extensive training, and file detailed reports on work awarded over the next year.

Also Tuesday, selectmen asked the roads and byways committee to survey how many spaces are available for tour operators, and examine whether those spaces should be offered to the highest bidder next year.