Town Column : Chilmark
I have been looking at the questionnaire the Planning Board has asked us to fill out for its update of the town's master plan. It's a fascinating look at how the community has changed in the last 20 years and at how Chilmark has addressed the issues of exploding population, which is after all a national issue as well. It also reflects the extraordinary task the Planning Board has set itself. The questions are probing and relevant, and not always easy to answer. Analyzing all the answers to reach some sort of consensus looks like a huge project. Everyone should be grateful to the town planners on the board.
I wondered what the answer was to the question about a cap on building permits: The present zoning bylaws building cap is 20 residential properties a year. The question was whether or not the bylaw should be renewed. Does that mean 20 new residences built every year for the next five years? Wouldn't that be a tremendous increase in the long run? Is there that much available land in Chilmark? As I said, in some cases there are no easy answers. The questionnaire gives all residents a glimpse into the complexities of trying to run things sensibly and make everyone happy at the same time.
As the season of new beginnings draws to a close, we welcome the harvest festivals and all the other longtime fall events.
COMSOG, the community greenhouse in Oak Bluffs, will celebrate its 21st year with an afternoon of festivities, starting with free soup courtesy of Linda Jean's, as well as endless goodies for sale including jams, jellies, baked goods, plants, arts and crafts. There's also music by the Brass Band and activities for the kids. All this on Sunday, Oct. 5, 12 noon to 3 pm. COMSOG is on New York Avenue next to Dick's Bait and Tackle.
The fifth annual Justin Lord Coleman Memorial Hike-a-Thon will take place next Saturday, Oct. 11, at 11:20 am. A 3-mile hike will go to the Hancock Beach and back, while a 10-mile hike will continue on to Lucy Vincent Beach and return. Tom and Barbara Furino, whose son David was killed in a car crash, will be present. Proceeds go to the Martha's Vineyard Drive for Life, a computer program to teach driving; Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Martha's Vineyard, and Outward Bound. Hikers should meet at the Coleman's house at 150 South Road. Refreshments will be served after the walks.
The 17th Women's Symposium will take place at the community center on Saturday, Oct. 18, from 9 am to 12 noon. There will be speakers, small discussion groups and refreshments. The theme is "What if?"
Forty Vineyard artists will donate works of art for a fundraiser for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama on October 12 (3-7 pm) and 13 (2-6 pm) at the Dragonfly Gallery in Oak Bluffs. For a $100 minimum donation, viewers can take home a painting. The idea, according to organizer Leslie Baker, is that if we all do things together, we can accomplish a lot, echoing Sen. Obama. Sounds good.