Possible pivot at Trade Wind Fields Preserve

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The condition of Trade Wind Field Preserve has improved dramatically this year. — Stacey Rupolo

Updated Thursday, Dec. 7 at 11:15 a.m.

The proposed 1.4-mile post and wire fence at Trade Wind Fields Preserve may not be a done deal after all.

The Oak Bluffs Land Bank Advisory Board voted 5-1 on Tuesday night to recommend that the Land Bank Commission postpone construction of the fence for a six-month period.

“A lot of us were surprised that the fence wasn’t incorporating existing trails, and people were essentially going to be rerouted into the woods,” board member Richard Toole said. “We weren’t well informed when we made our first vote.”

The Land Bank Commission voted to install the fence on June 6. Fence opponents have presented the commission and the advisory board with several petitions, and have been a vocal presence at public meetings this fall.

At an Oct. 18 public hearing, opponents asked Land Bank staff and board members to consider the dramatic improvement of the property in recent years, which they said is due in part to 95 percent compliance of Land Bank rules.

A permit for the fence from the National Heritage and Endangered Species Program (NHESP) was granted on Nov. 8.

Land Bank executive director James Lengyel said the ultimate decision is up to the Land Bank Commission, which will meet Monday, at 1 p.m. at Land Bank Headquarters, 167 Main St. in Edgartown.

According to Land Bank biologist Julie Russell, the runway and taxiway at Trade Wind are home to rare flora and fauna — the New England blazing star, sandplain blue-eyed grass, and purple tiger beetle — which are designated as species of “special concern” by NHESP, and also to purple needlegrass, which is classified as “threatened.” The New England blazing star was discovered just this summer by Ms. Russell.

In other business, Oak Bluffs planning board chairman Ewell Hopkins will replace advisory board chairman Tom Zinno, who is stepping down. The board will vote on a new chairman.

Updated because the time and location of the meeting changed.