To the Editor:
I am an interested party, owning a home adjacent to Squibnocket Farm (SFHA), and ask that readers consider the following:
1. All parties to this debate agree that SFHA will lose personal, utility, and emergency access to our properties due to erosion and rising ocean levels. It is not a question of “if” but when.
2. Chilmark has already lost practically all use of its Squibnocket town beach and the adjacent parking lot revetment is crumbling. This beach has been a major, widely used, town asset which was created many years ago through the partnering of Chilmark, predecessors to SFHA, and the Hornblower family.
3. Starting several years ago, recognizing the inevitable, SFHA began work to solve the twin problems of beach and home access, eventually developing a plan that was acceptable to the town and highly likely to be permitable. This plan encompasses an elevated causeway for home access paid for by SFHA, purchase of adjacent VOLF land for a similar sized new town parking lot with new beach access also paid for by SFHA, and the grant of a 100 year lease of these properties for a nominal sum at no cost to the taxpayers. Without doubt, a major win-win for the town, the public, and SFHA.
4. Despite these efforts having being made public over the last several months, accompanied by numerous open meetings, very recently a group of abutters objected to the plan and proposed an alternative concept, accompanied by no workable plans.
5. In theory, their concept is enticing, theorizing that it might be possible to retain the current beach, relocate the parking lot onto private property to be purchased from several abutters, and significantly re-routing the SFHA access causeway.
6. However, most environmental consultants believe that even if the concept becomes a plan, it contains at least one major hurdle to being permitted, even if taken to the State level, and the proponents of the concept admit that they do not have all the necessary landowners’ consent.
7. In summary, I ask that the voters of Chilmark consider (and vote for) the only workable plan on the ballot and one that brings invaluable benefits to the town that may never again be available, all because a small, highly vocal group of self-interested abutters feel that the plan would diminish the value of their views.