A quorum on the nose, Edgartown completes special town meeting

Edgartown's town elections will take place on Thursday, April 14.

Edgartown voters trickled into the Old Whaling Church Tuesday for the 7 pm start of a special town meeting once delayed. The biggest question was whether enough voters would arrive for a quorum.

Edgartown selectmen had rescheduled the special town meeting to November 1, after the meeting scheduled for October 25, fell just short of a quorum. They urged voters to come and bring a friend.

Chappy ferry owner Peter Wells did his part. He promised free passage to voters and a return trip outside the regular night schedule.

Shortly after 7 pm, selectman Art Smadbeck announced that the meeting was seven voters short of the required 159. He urged those present to take to their cell phones. Approximately 10 minutes later the voters needed to begin walked in, and there was a cheer.

Veteran town moderator Philip “Jeff” Norton wasted no time. He moved briskly through the 15-article warrant.

On the warrant were a range of financial housekeeping items, a request for money to develop a plan to sell all or a portion of the Captain Warren House, and a measure that would allow the selectmen to issue requests for proposals from companies interested in siting wireless communication technology inside the blue silos at Katama Farm in order to provide better wireless service in that section of town.

On the much discussed topic of the Warren House, Mr. Smadbeck told voters that the town wanted to reallocate money already in the budget for planning purposes only and that included an appraisal.”This really is a matter of good process and good planning, that is all we are trying to do,” he said.

He reassured voters that any decisions would be made at the anual town meeting.

Mr. Smadbeck took to the floor again on the question of utilizing the Katama Farm silos for wireless antennaes. Mr. Smadbeck said it was about improving cell service in Katama and retaining revenue for the town.

Christina Brown, conservation commission member, pointed out that under federal law the town could not block wireless companies from erecting towers on private property where cell service was deficient. This was an effort to control the location and retain lease fees estimated between $25,000 and $50,000, town adminsitrator Pam Dolby said. “We can’t wait,” she said.

Voters aproved all articles, most unanimously.

There was little discussion. Peter Look, a regular town meeting participant with a penchant for questioning town officials, supplied the bulk of the questions and comments.

The meeting ended just past 8 pm.