A special town meeting in Tisbury on December 10 will determine whether the third time is the charm for a proposed connector road system between State and Edgartown-Vineyard Haven roads.
Voters will be asked to reconsider the project, as well as approve a Pine Street property purchase for municipal use and the repair and replacement of Tisbury School’s roof, along with some housekeeping items.
The meeting begins at 7 pm in the Tisbury School gymnasium. There are 12 articles on the special town meeting warrant (available at mvtimes.com).
Connector road revisited
The first three warrant articles relate to the connector road system. The connector road would offer motorists the option to cut over from Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road along the access driveway now used by Island Food Products near the Edgartown National Bank branch and use one of three legs — Holmes Hole Road, High Point Lane, or Evelyn Way — to get to State Road.
Article one asks the town to approve borrowing $1.3 million to fund and construct the Holmes Hole Road leg. Although a similar proposal put to voters at town meeting last April failed to get the needed two-thirds majority, a corresponding ballot question was approved, 312-236, by voters at town elections two weeks later.
Since the ballot question did pass, the selectmen had the option to call a special town meeting or one could be requested by petition to reconsider the issue, according to town clerk Marion Mudge. Municipal finance director Tim McLean consulted with bond counsel, who said that if a two-thirds majority approved it at another town meeting, the debt exclusion of $1.3 million approved on last spring’s ballot question would still be valid.
Article two asks voters to allow the town to spend State Chapter 90 funds granted from the Department of Transportation to construct the connector road’s High Point Lane and Evelyn Way legs. Chapter 90 funds may be used for highway construction, preservation, and improvement projects, as well as related work such as sidewalks and street lights.
“But since we’ve just finished or are close to finishing the five-year rejuvenation program for town roads, we figure we can take two years of state aid money for road repair and donate it towards this cost,” Mr. LaPiana explained. “And that’s all we need, is two years.”
Article three asks voters to allow the town to take land by eminent domain on Evelyn Way, Olga Road and Lyle Lane, as needed to construct the connector road’s Evelyn Way leg.
“It will affect all the abutters, in that we’re not looking to take the property, we’re looking to take an easement, so that any detriments associated with property transfer aren’t there,” Mr. LaPiana explained.
“It will open a through-way in there and make the road passable and better, without affecting anyone’s property rights per se, and then it will give the selectmen the opportunity to clean up that area a little bit,” he added.
Next week’s meeting will be the first time the connector road system has come up for approval in its entirety. Voters approved borrowing $2.5 million to fund the connector road’s design and construction at town meeting in April 2009. The town sought state funding and was turned down twice before asking voters to foot the bill.
Pine Street property
In discussion at a selectmen’s meeting a few weeks ago, chairman Jeff Kristal said the town had just learned of an opportunity to purchase property located at 14 Pine Street. As a result, the selectmen placed Article 8 on the warrant, which asks voters to authorize them to acquire the property by purchase or eminent domain.
The 4.19-acre parcel abuts town-owned property, with the superintendent of school’s office building on one side and leaching fields for the Emergency Services Facility in back. “We think it’s a critical piece of property in the town for infrastructure use,” Mr. Kristal told The Times in a phone conversation on Tuesday.
However, he explained, while the town was talking with the realtor handling the property’s sale, another buyer made an offer, which raised the question of eminent domain.
“That doesn’t mean the town would be taking it without paying; we would pay a price to the owner of the property,” Mr. Kristal said. “We’re in talks right now with the proposed buyer of the property to work out some kind of arrangement, if it would work for both parties, and if town meeting approves. This isn’t adversarial. It could be a great thing for the proposed buyer, for the current owner, and for the town.”
Mr. Kristal said the selectmen and Planning Board have been discussing possible uses for the property, such as a new police department building or possible expansion of the superintendent’s office building. “There is a lot of potential for that property,” he said.
Voters will also be asked to approve a borrowing article for $305,000 to repair and replace Tisbury School’s roof; to approve the transfer of $20,000 from the Waterways Fund for the design and installation of two shoreside pump-out facilities, one at Owen Park and the other at Lake Street landing; for the transfer of $35,000 from the board of public works’ stabilization fund to purchase a used cab and chassis to replace equipment used for road sanding; to transfer $45,000 from the reserve for appropriation to refuse operations; and to rescind a vote from 2008 to purchase property for a solid waste facility that was never created.