Chilmark selectmen plan to begin renovations at Chilmark School

Chilmark selectmen agreed Tuesday to go ahead with plans to address one of several building issues at the Chilmark school, which were identified in a report last February.

Tim Carroll, Chilmark executive secretary, said bids to work on the drainage system are due by August 1. Selectmen expect work will start around the third week of August. Ideally, the work should be completed by Labor Day, selectman Bill Rossi said.

Mr. Rossi expressed concern about planting grass during times of high humidity. “Sometimes at the end of August you can grow grass in three days,” he said. “Hopefully, the timing will be right for us, but you never know.”

The Chilmark School was built in 1999 at a cost of $3.6 million. A seven-page report by Noblin & Associates of Bridgewater described widespread deficiencies, building code violations, and extensive repairs needed to the roof, gutters, exterior siding windows, doors, and drainage.

In other business, selectmen reviewed plans to repair the Squibnocket Beach parking lot. “It is crawling along, but moving forward, which is good,” Mr. Rossi, a member of the beach parking lot committee, said.

Mr. Rossi said the goal is to have a plan in place by October with a budget, to identify sources of funding, and to make a presentation at the annual town meeting in April.

Selectman Jonathan Mayhew said the work needs to be done sooner rather than later. “People are waiting for the plan,” he said. “We will have a good plan, but it will not happen overnight.”

On another note, selectmen heard from Aquinnah resident Vernon Welch, who now leases one of five creek lots the town of Aquinnah owns although they are on the Chilmark side of Menemsha Creek. The lot includes a dock and a small shed, a portion of which is in Chilmark.

The lot is on a creek side of the spit of land deeded by the state to both towns in 1965, with the stipulation that it be “reserved for and made available to commercial fishermen.” The spit is between the creek and the southern end of Menemsha Basin.

Aquinnah owns a triangular piece of land that includes a stretch of property from the end of North Road diagonally across from The Galley, along the road and shoreline on Menemsha Creek, and a triangular piece that juts into Menemsha Basin, behind a row of fishing shacks.

Mr. Welch expressed concern about a deep hole in the road that runs behind his lot, used to access Chilmark’s drive-on dock.

“It’s a six-foot drop,” Mr. Welch said. “I’m worried about liability issues.”

Mr. Welch said that when he raised his concerns to Aquinnah selectmen they told him it was not Aquinnah’s property.

“I lease the lot,” Mr. Welch said. “The dock and the shed, who knows. But I lease the lot and the lot is my liability, and I’m trying to straighten it out.”

“The problem I foresee, the major issue, is who has got the building and who doesn’t have the building, and that doesn’t really resolve the issue,” Mr. Mayhew said.

“We’re not trying to resolve who owns the building, but trying to add rocks to an area that is eroding and falling down,” selectman Warren Doty said.

Selectmen agreed to repair the hole in the road.

“We’re not trying to stir up anything, just trying to fix the road so it is not a danger for anyone,” Mr. Mayhew said.

In other business, the town will expand the current rule that dogs must be on a leash from June 1 to October 15 in Menemsha past the creek bridge, so that it will include all of Menemsha in the future.