West Tisbury selectmen name Ernest Thomas to fill spot on MVC

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West Tisbury selectmen last week voted two to one to appoint Ernest Thomas to the Martha’s Vineyard Commission (MVC) to fill the unfinished term of Brian Smith, who resigned in September. Mr. Thomas will serve until December 2015.

Selectmen Cynthia Mitchell and Jeffrey “Skipper” Manter voted in favor of Mr. Thomas at the Wednesday, November 19, meeting. Selectman Richard Knabel voted no, saying he preferred to re-advertise for the position since the only other applicant, Erik Hammarlund, currently an elected at large member of the MVC, rescinded his application for personal reasons.

Mr. Thomas makes his living repairing appliances and in construction. “I have been involved in current issues in West Tisbury having attended every town meeting there for at least 20 years,” Mr. Thomas told The Times. “I hope to have the ability to make a contribution to the overall growth of the Vineyard, especially from a West Tisbury perspective. I know it’s going to take some time for me to come up to speed, but I am excited about having this opportunity to make a contribution to the Island and West Tisbury.”

The MVC, the Island’s powerful regional permitting body, is made up of 21 members. Nine are elected by Vineyard voters Island-wide in elections held every two years, six are appointed on an annual basis by the towns’ boards of selectmen, one is appointed on an annual basis by the Dukes County Commission, and five are appointed by the governor or a member of the cabinet (of these, four do not vote on DRIs or DCPCs).

In other town business, Mr. Knabel reported that a meeting between the selectmen, the parks and recreation department and the conservation commission resulted in the establishment of a joint committee consisting of two members from each group to attempt to find resolutions to concerns about the increased difficulty some town residents have climbing the dune at the entrance to the Lamberts’ Cove town beach and to issues that have grown up around vegetation on the edges of the Mill Pond. Some town residents have asked that vegetation around the pond be trimmed back more to increase the view and provide access for fishermen.