Chilmark shellfish harvest looks promising
Chilmark selectmen this week voted to open the recreational shellfishing season immediately on Nashaquitsa, Menemsha and Tisbury Great ponds and beginning in 2009 to allow future openings on October 1, without requiring advance board approval, as has been the case in recent years.
The board also voted to merge the functions of shellfish constable and propagation into a single job and to begin the hiring process for a part-time assistant shellfish constable. Isaiah Scheffer, the current shellfish propagation agent, was appointed to the dual job by unanimous vote Tuesday night. The position had been vacant since former constable Stanley Larsen was not reappointed by the board for 2009.
The board also voted to limit non-commercial scallop catch on Nashaquitsa Pond to one half-bushel per week, to be taken by dip netting or diving, until the commercial season begins on November 3.
In the interest of future shellfish propagation, selectmen said that additional restrictions on fishing in specific spots on Nashaquitsa might be forthcoming prior to the opening of the commercial fishing season.
Mr. Scheffer and selectmen indicated they are expecting an active and abundant shellfishing harvest this year.
In other action, selectman J. B. Riggs Parker told the board that two companies had responded with detailed plans to build a three-town distributed antennae (DAS) system to improve Up-Island cellular and public safety phone service.
Tuesday evening, Mr. Parker told his colleagues, "We have just received the bids and begun the review process. It is premature to comment on them." Crown Castle and American Tower both have responded to a request for proposals made by a joint DAS committee from Chilmark, West Tisbury, and Aquinnah. The deadline for responses expired this week.
The town is also nearing an agreement to complete acquisition of land on Tabor House Road, with easements that would allow development planning to begin on the Middle Line affordable housing project, selectmen disclosed this week.
Mr. Parker said that the town has signed the acquisition and easement agreement and believes lot owners Pat Jenkinson and Blair and Keith Emin will also sign the agreement this week, clearing the way for access to the new affordable housing development.
The plan calls for subdividing a 21-acre town-owned parcel on Middle Line Path into seven lots, with six serving as resident home sites for owner-built houses and the seventh large lot for six rental units and open space.
The intent of the plan is to integrate the rental units with the homesites, selectman Warren Doty, the board's point man on the project, has said.
The selectmen also voted to send a letter to the Martha's Vineyard Airport commission opposing a proposal now under consideration to allow advertising around the terminal.