During a board meeting Tuesday, Aquinnah selectmen reviewed specifics regarding a 1.8-acre gift lot on Lighthouse Road, originally presented to the town by Hannah Malkin. They decided to hold off on making a final call until the next town meeting.
Town administrator Jeffrey Madison explained the reason the item was on the agenda was because Malkin’s attorney submitted a deed to the town outlining standards of property use and upkeep.
Sarah Thulin, chairman of the conservation commission, told selectmen that she attended a meeting in 2017 where the lot was offered as a gift to the town and accepted by selectmen. Madison clarified this statement for the room, explaining that selectmen approved “a concept, not specific details of the gift.” He said that it was up to the board to determine whether the language in the deed concerning use is acceptable.
Thulin said Malkin’s intention for the land was to build a park with a scenic overlook providing a vista of the Menemsha Bight and the Elizabeth Islands. A tree-cutting service was one element of the deed that Thulin said the town would have to provide. “Let’s see if we can turn this into something positive for both the town and Aquinnah residents,” Thulin said. “We thought it would benefit everyone.”
Selectman Jim Newman agreed, saying, “It’s the only spot where you can really get a nice view.”
Elise LeBovit, chairman of the Aquinnah board of assessors, told selectmen the assessors are the evaluation regulators for the town, and it would be “prudent for them to know how much it’s going to cost.” LeBovit said accepting the lot would change the town levy limit. She suggested holding off on accepting the gift until town meeting, where a vote could be held.