Ocean Park leach beds to be refurbished beginning in October
The Oak Bluffs wastewater commission has voted to refurbish four leaching beds under Ocean Park, to comply with an order of consent issued by the state Department of Environmental Protection. The state sanctioned the town last fall, after treated effluent was detected on the surface of the park. The beds, which allow treated wastewater to leach into the ground, are not working as they should, according to wastewater plant manager Joseph Alosso. Combined with other factors, including irrigation and malfunctioning storm drains, the failing leaching beds have caused soggy ground and standing water in the park, according to an engineering report.
The repairs will involve digging up a section of the park between the bandstand and Sea View Avenue. Mr. Alosso estimated work will begin in late October and be completed by Thanksgiving. The repairs will be funded by the wastewater commission's retained earnings account, at no extra cost to the taxpayer.
The repairs should allow the commission to lift the current moratorium on new sewer hookups, Mr. Alosso added. He also said he awaits word on a $1.7 million federal grant that would fund development of the property near the treatment plan, known as the Leonardo property, into a new leaching facility. The proposed facility would expand the capacity of the plant to handle sewage from Martha's Vineyard Regional High School and the new YMCA.
Mr. Alosso said that because state groundwater discharge standards have recently changed, the plant will need modifications before discharging wastewater into the proposed new beds. "We have to meet a higher level," he said. "It doesn't mean we can't use it, it means we have to meet a higher level of treatment." He estimated the plant modifications could cost from $500,000 to $750,000.
Also Tuesday, the selectmen made their annual appointments to town boards and commissions. Chairman Greg Coogan, supported by selectmen Kathy Burton, Duncan Ross, and Ron DiOrio, advocated appointment of several newcomers to town boards. Selectman Kerry Scott favored reappointment of all incumbents.
The issue came to a head with appointments to the zoning board of appeals (ZBA). Mr. Ross quickly proposed to appoint newcomer Derek Tipton to a two-year term, along with Peter Palches and Joseph Re to three-year terms. Mr. Palches and Mr. Re were alternate members of the ZBA. Mr. Ross did not nominate Gail Barmakian, a current member of the ZBA who wanted to be reappointed, much to the consternation of Ms. Scott.
"This feels like payback," said Ms. Scott. "Gail Barmakian has served this town with distinction."
The vote was 4-1 with Ms. Scott the dissenting vote. "I'm really sorry, I'm so ashamed," she said following the vote.
In other action, selectmen granted a provisional entertainment license to Deon's, a restaurant on upper Circuit Avenue. Representing the restaurant, attorney Robyn Nash said the establishment wants to offer jazz, rhythm and blues, and reggae performers after the dinner hour in the evening and during Sunday brunch. "We have had a number of people submit suggestions and requests about us offering music," Ms. Nash said. "We're not talking about bands of any size. I thought it would be nice to have a jazz combo, the NAACP gospel singers, the Minnesingers." She estimated that music and dancing would begin late in the evening and could continue until closing at 1 am.