Tisbury selectmen rein in police parking

A consultant will be taking another look at the Tisbury police department. — Photo by Ralph Stewart

In the latest chapter in Tisbury’s parking shortage saga, selectmen Jeff Kristal and Tristan Israel agreed Tuesday to limit parking for police department personnel. They will be restricted to the area in front of their building up to a crosswalk at the rear of the Water Street parking lot next to the Stop and Shop Supermarket. Selectman chairman Geoghan Coogan was absent.

“Maybe they’re not getting the message, because police department parking is still creeping into the town parking lot,” Mr. Kristal said at the start of the discussion. Police department personnel are parking official and personal vehicles in spaces that are needed by people shopping for groceries or at other businesses near the lot, Mr. Kristal said.

Selectman Tristan Israel agreed. He suggested that town administrator John Bugbee find out how many spaces the police department needs for vehicles during peak work hours.

“Maybe there’s another way to accommodate legitimate overflow,” he said.

Mr. Kristal said he would also like to see the two-hour parking time limit in the Water Street parking lot decreased to one hour, to encourage more turnover. People who want to shop longer have more options now, he said, since the selectmen agreed to increase the time for most Main Street parking from one hour to two.

He and Mr. Israel agreed that such a change should be discussed in more detail at a future meeting, because it would require a public hearing.

Police Chief Dan Hanavan, who was not at the meeting, said in a phone conversation with The Times yesterday that the selectmen’s decision comes at a good time.

“Since it’s the end of the summer season, I just lost my traffic officers for the Steamship Authority, so I don’t have to be concerned about parking for them,” he said. “With a change of shifts we should have enough parking, and we will work within the parameters they gave us. Once the new emergency services facility opens up, the EMTs will pull out, and that should give us a few more spaces. It may be a little tight for us for a couple of months.”

ESF, town hall, connector road updates

Under department reports, emergency services facility building committee chairman Joe Tierney said general contractor Seaver Contractor issued an updated work schedule with plans for “substantial completion” of the building by the beginning of November. Seaver would then have an additional 30 days to finish.

In the town administrator’s report, Mr. Bugbee said Tisbury has $155,000 left to spend, from Community Preservation Act funds approved by voters, for further improvements and restoration efforts at town hall. The final phase is to repaint and remove rotted clapboards on the building’s front and repair lower level windows. The project received only one bid of $210,000, Mr. Bugbee said.

Since it is important to start the building envelope repair and exterior painting soon, Mr. Bugbee said Einhorn Yaffe Prescott Architecture and Engineering, the firm the town contracted with for design services, suggested delaying the window work and renegotiating with the vendor to get the other work done first. The selectmen agreed.

Mr. Bugbee also informed the selectmen that town counsel David Doneski provided a seven-page memo outlining the legal process to dispose of an abandoned boat. Mr. Bugbee said the town has been saddled with storage of an abandoned and damaged boat for several years because owner Norman Ross, who lives off-Island at an unknown address, has refused to relinquish ownership. The selectmen instructed him to ask Mr. Doneski to begin legal proceedings.

In other business, the selectmen approved an application due September 9 for a state Public Works Economic Development grant for the town’s proposed connector road between State Road and the Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road. Department of public works director Fred LaPiana said the application requests $2.5 million for phase 1, the Holmes Hole portion of the road, and $1.5 million for phase 2, the portion from the DPW to State Road.

Although the town lost out on the last round in competition with 25 other towns, Mr. LaPiana said he hopes the state will fund both phases this year. “We’re trying everything to do to fund this,’ he said. “If we don’t make it this time, we will put it on town floor, because voters have indicated they want this.”

Hurricane debriefing

In other business, the selectmen voted to appoint paramedic Christopher Cini as the town’s emergency management director (EMD) through June 30, 2012. They also discussed and assessed the town’s preparations and experiences with Hurricane Irene.

“I was extremely impressed with how everybody worked together,” said Mr. Kristal, who was the acting EMD for Hurricane Irene. “You did a great job and should get kudos for it,” he added to Mr. Bugbee, in reference to frequent updates and information on Tisbury’s website.

Mr. Kristal said the Steamship Authority was very cooperative in working with the town and will be working with Tisbury on a written action-plan to improve things the next time around.

“Overall I thought this was a good exercise, and I think we’re better prepared for next time,” Mr. Bugbee said. “One thing we did well was utilize the town website and Code Red. We were careful in not over-utilizing it, but using it at a level that was reflective of the actual event.”

The Tisbury selectmen’s next meeting is September 20, 5 pm, at the Tisbury Senior Center.