Ernie Boch Jr. will create a park in Vineyard Haven

Tisbury gets a new park on the harbor, but loses two pear trees on Clough Lane.

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Ernie Boch Jr. demolished this dilapidated building and will create a park on his harborfront property. – File photo Sam Moore

Tisbury selectmen heard good news and bad news this week. The bad news: Clough Lane will lose two of its beloved pear trees. The good news: Ernie Boch Jr. will build a park at 20 Beach Road.

And in other good news, during Tuesday night’s meeting at the Tisbury Senior Center, Melinda Loberg, selectmen chairman, signed a grant awarded by the Seaport Economic Council — the biggest grant in Tisbury’s history, she said. Tisbury was awarded a $680,000 grant that will allow the town to significantly overhaul its Lake Tashmoo landing. Tisbury will replace the public pier, bulkhead, and launch ramp to accommodate rising sea levels and outdated infrastructure.

But the bad news came first, when selectmen were told that two Bradford pear trees on Clough Lane will be removed, even after town officials and residents had expressed concerns about their removal.

Property owner Carol White wrote a letter to The Times on Dec. 27, responding to residents’ concerns. The two trees, she wrote, are in front of a new guesthouse, and are both “fragile and malodorous.” She considered them problematic because of their location.

“I too admire the lovely white blossoms and the fall colors, but these unstable and smelly trees are too close to the house and the outdoor gathering spaces,” she wrote.

Ray Tattersall, director of the Department of Public Works (DPW) in Tisbury, told selectmen on Tuesday night that Ms. White wants the trees gone. She has three trees on her property, and she will remove two of them. If the trees were within 20 feet of the right of way, the town would have jurisdiction over them.

“Clearly, they have the right to deal with the trees on their properties,” Ms. Loberg said.

Selectmen were pleased to hear that seasonal Edgartown resident, philanthropist, and auto magnate Ernie Boch Jr. plans to build a park adjacent to Five Corners, fulfilling a promise he made last year after tearing down a long-derelict building on the vacant lot he owns at 20 Beach Road. Representatives of the Boch Co. told selectmen they are in the process of designing a park, and plan to have “a nautical theme” with plantings, lighting, and a small boardwalk to the sand dunes.

Selectmen approved their request for a license for a sewer easement relocation.

“It’s a significant piece of property in town, not only for the town but for the Island and its access to the harbor,” Ms. Loberg said. “We welcome the working relationship with the property managers.”

Amy Houghton, chairman of the Tisbury School committee, updated selectmen on the status of the Tisbury School project. The current school, the Massachusetts School Building Authority has determined, does not have enough space to meet the needs of its roughly 320 students.

A feasibility study is currently underway, and the school committee and building subcommittee are exploring various options: renovation of the building as is; renovation and an addition; construction of a new building at the current location; or construction of a new building at a new location.
A workshop will be held on Monday, April 3, at 10:30 am and 7 pm in the Emergency Services Facility in Tisbury for community input.

Selectman Tristan Israel called the project costs, some with a $30 million price tag, “very scary.”

“We may want to buy a Cadillac, but we may not be able to afford a Cadillac,” Mr. Israel said.

Selectmen voted unanimously to extend the moped rental license for Island Adventure Rentals on Beach Road in Tisbury through April 30, while the board completes its changes to current moped regulations. Selectmen will discuss changes to the regulations on April 11 at their regularly scheduled meeting.

Selectmen approved the priority plan for the Complete Streets program, to be submitted to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) on March 31 to be eligible for funding. The program may provide up to $400,000 annually to individual towns for improvements geared toward pedestrians, bicyclists, and public transit users.

The Tisbury Vision Council and the Tisbury planning board, along with representatives from Howard Stein Hudson, a Boston-based traffic engineering firm, have compiled a list of more than 100 pedestrian improvement projects in Vineyard Haven that might qualify for funding from the Complete Streets Program.

Selectmen voted unanimously to close the town meeting warrant and special town meeting warrant. In doing so, on the second ballot question — which asks if Tisbury should be allowed to extend current beer and wine licenses to also sell liquor — Mr. Israel abstained, while Ms. Loberg and selectman Larry Gomez voted in approval.

“It’s the beginning of the end,” Mr. Israel said. In February, selectmen voted unanimously to put the question on the ballot.