Tisbury selectmen approve meter system for Park and Ride lot

Ralph Stewart

The Tisbury selectmen voted unanimously Tuesday to move forward with plans to install a parking meter system at the Park and Ride lot this summer. They also agreed they would revisit the town’s fees and regulations, and meet with the Vineyard Transit Authority (VTA) before a meter system is implemented.

The selectmen first approved a paid parking system in August 2011, with plans to implement it later that year. Their plan was to lease a ticket dispenser, with an option to buy, on a trial basis to see if it would be worth the investment. However, town administrator Jay Grande said in following up on the issue, the parking meter vendor the town has been working is not comfortable with doing that.

“We’ve talked to other towns, we have a commitment from the Police Department for enforcement, and I think we ought to fast-track it and get something in place this summer,” selectman Jonathan Snyder said. “I’d feel comfortable going with a permanent installation at the Park and Ride lot, and if it works there, look at other places, too.”

Selectman Tristan Israel agreed, provided the fees and regulations are clarified. The town currently allows up to seven days of free parking at the lot, but has no effective way to enforce that limit. Different restrictions and fees apply to commercial vehicles, based on size.

“Right now, you can have one commercial vehicle parked up there, if it is under 18 feet, for free,” Mr. Israel said. “If you have two or more, you’re supposed to pay for a permit for the second one and others. Vehicles over 20 feet cost a different amount. It’s a little convoluted.”

“We need to clean up that whole thing,” selectman chairman Jeff Kristal said. “We need to revisit the rates, see what we need to do with the VTA, and move forward.”

The VTA provides shuttle service between the Park and Ride parking lot and the Steamship Authority’s (SSA) Vineyard Haven terminal through an agreement with Tisbury and the SSA. The VTA shuttle bus leaves the parking lot 15 minutes before each vessel’s scheduled departure and meets each vessel’s scheduled arrival.

The SSA reimburses the VTA for 50 percent of the direct labor and fuel costs attributable to the service, plus $200 per month to cover maintenance, insurance, and other indirect costs.

The VTA reported that a total of 110,603 passengers used the Park and Ride shuttle service during the 12-month period that ended October 31, 2012. The SSA contributed $73,427 towards the cost of the service under the terms of the agreement.

Selectmen are also planning to create some type of paid parking on the site of the former Tisbury fire house, currently being demolished.

Rocco’s agrees to plastic, not paper

In other business, the Tisbury selectmen approved a beer and wine license renewal application for Rocco’s Pizzeria at the conclusion of a public hearing continued from May 7. Their action reversed their decision on January 23 not to renew Rocco’s license because of non-compliance with the town’s beer and wine licensing policies.

The rules and regulations in the policies require that licensed establishments must serve meals on solid dinnerware with flatware. Selectmen had originally issued the owners of Rocco’s Pizzeria, located in the Tisbury Marketplace, a license to serve beer and wine, based in part on the owners’ request to switch from paper plates at a later date because of the expense involved.

The selectmen voted in January not to renew Rocco’s beer and wine license because of non-compliance, based on the absence of a dishwasher and use of paper plates. They subsequently learned they were incorrect about the dishwasher, which is not mentioned in the alcohol licensing regulations.

At a meeting on May 7 the selectmen held a public hearing to consider possibly amending the beer and wine regulations to eliminate the dinnerware and flatware requirement. They voted to take no action, and also agreed to continue the public hearing on Rocco’s license renewal for another two weeks.

At Tuesday night’s meeting, attorney Geoghan Coogan said Rocco’s owner Peter Sullo is making arrangements to purchase hard plastic plates and has received permission from the Board of Health to hand-wash them instead of having to buy a dishwasher. The selectmen voted to approve the license renewal.

Amended beer and wine licenses

The selectmen also approved two applications for amended beer and wine licenses from the Mansion House Inn and the Black Dog Tavern.

The Mansion House requested approval for an operational agreement with owner J.B. Blau to serve beer and wine at the Copper Wok, a new restaurant he plans to open in the hotel in June. Attorney Howard Miller, who represented both parties, said the Mansion House would basically be sharing its license but remains the responsible party, in accordance with the Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission’s rules. That arrangement allows Mansion House to continue to operate private functions where beer and wine is served.

The Black Dog Tavern requested approval to expand its beer and wine service to its new patio area. Tavern manager Jill Gillick said the restaurant had a waiting list for every seating last summer and that the extra seating is very much needed. She told the selectmen there will be signs notifying diners that they can’t leave the patio with their alcoholic beverages.

In other business, the selectmen approved petitions from NSTAR to install a 1,165-foot underground electrical feed for the Lagoon Bridge project and a new pole that will replace six old ones that will be removed. They also approved Police Chief Dan Hanavan’s request to appoint Daniel Resto as a special police officer, effective June 1.