Oak Bluffs votes paving projects, tightens lease rules

— File photo by Mae Deary

Oak Bluffs selectmen approved a plan to pave parts of five local streets at their Tuesday meeting. The action comes after three years of delays on nearly all paving projects due to budget constraints.

The projects, all scheduled before the summer season, include Dukes County Avenue, Sea View Avenue (from the clay brick bathrooms to the harbor), Saco Avenue, Pasque Avenue, and Park Street.

“They are all roads that are in serious disrepair,” highway superintendent Richard Combra Jr. said. “I don’t think we can go through another summer; they are in real tough shape.”

The highway department intends to use $251,000 in state highway funds distributed under Chapter 90 of Massachusetts General laws to fund the projects.

The paving is part of a five-year capital improvement plan submitted by Mr. Combra. Not all the planned improvements will be covered with Chapter 90 funds.

“Obviously we’re talking about spending a couple million dollars over the next few years, so we have to come up with a plan for funding that,” Mr. Combra said.

Selectmen also voted to amend the town regulations covering seasonal peddler’s licenses. The towns grants three peddler’s licenses for mobile food stands at Big Bridge and Little Bridge. The licenses are grandfathered under old regulations, and the town has not granted any new licenses.

The new regulations would raise the fee from $500 to $1,000, set up a process for hearings on violations, and regulate where the vehicles can be parked. Selectmen agreed to further refine language about what the license holders can sell, and how it can be cooked.

Mary Kay Mazza, who holds two of the licenses, objected to the fee hike and other changes to the regulations.

“To double the fee in one year, I think that’s really expensive,” Ms. Mazza said. “Now you’re nitpicking about hot dogs and what we can sell.”

“The original suggestion was $2,500 based on a study of other resort areas,” chairman Kathy Burton said. “Those are very valuable businesses, and you’re essentially renting town property to run those businesses.”

Selectmen also agreed to begin a bid process for town-owned parking spaces now used by tour bus companies.

Town administrator Bob Whritenour said records of payments and agreements for leasing the spaces are scattered and sketchy.

“I am having a difficult time piecing together the history, which does not appear to comply with current procurement standards,” Mr. Whritenour wrote in his report to selectmen.

In other business Tuesday, selectman granted a new business license to Primo Lombardi, who plans to open a yoga center at 73 Circuit Avenue.

The board reappointed Alison Shaw to the Community Preservation Commission, and it appointed Susan Gamble to the Historical Commission.