Aquinnah considers comprehensive wind bylaw
A public hearing is scheduled in Aquinnah on October 27 to consider a bylaw change that would create an extensive regulation framework for wind energy projects. The hearing is slated for 7 pm at the town offices building.
The goal of the bylaw is "local generation of energy from renewable sources, while minimizing any negative impact on residents and visitors."
If adopted, the bylaw would require a special permit from the planning board plan review committee for any land-based wind energy project. It would restrict wind turbines to producing energy for primary use on the lot where they are located. There is an exception for municipal wind projects and for community wind projects.
In two districts of critical planning concern (DCPC), areas where the Martha's Vineyard Commission has strong authority to regulate development, as well as within 1,000 feet of the coastline, wind energy projects would have to satisfy additional requirements. In the Moshup Trail DCPC, the Aquinnah Cliffs DCPC, and along the coast, project backers would have to demonstrate a reduction in fossil fuel use, explore the concept of a communal energy project, and conduct a bird impact study. Municipal energy projects would be allowed in those DCPCs, subject to permitting.
A copy of the proposed bylaw appears in the legal advertisements section of today's Times, beginning on page 37.
Island Grove sewer project gets last-minute reprieve
Edgartown selectmen convened an emergency meeting yesterday, to squeeze funding for the Island Grove subdivision sewer project onto the warrant for the October 27 special town meeting.
At their regular meeting on Monday, wastewater manager Joe Alosso and the wastewater district commissioners argued that the article ought to be included on the warrant, because the town would be eligible for about $400,000 in federal stimulus grants. Mr. Alosso said that if the article is put off until the annual town meeting in April, it is likely the stimulus money will no longer be available.
Selectmen rejected that argument Monday, saying the $806,100 spending request is more appropriate for the spring meeting, because voters have often expressed a desire to limit special town meetings to non-monetary issues, or small bookkeeping matters.
But town administrator Pam Dolby, who said she spent a sleepless night thinking about passing up $400,000, found a way to get the article on the warrant. "After many, many, many phone calls and consulting with many people," she said, "I'm going to recommend the article go on the warrant."
Special town meeting voters will get a chance to vote the sewer project article up or down. The article will also require a Proposition 2.5 ballot question on whether to exclude the debt from the tax levy limit. That vote won't happen until the town election next spring. The article also says that no money may be borrowed or spent before July 1, 2010.
Selectmen voted unanimously to approve the warrant, including the last-second sewer project article.
Board chairman Michael Donaroma offered high praise for Ms. Dolby's innovative solution.
"The easy thing to do would have been to say, it's too much too fast," Mr. Donaroma said. "She didn't just leave it there, which would have been the easy thing. She just kept digging and digging. She came up with a way. Four hundred grand for taxpayers is not chump change."
Driver charged in West Tisbury single car crash
A BMW struck a utility pole and a tree, then rolled on its side before coming to rest on its roof about 2:30 pm Sunday afternoon just a short distance from the West Tisbury police station adjacent to Mill Pond.
David A. Finley, 77, of West Tisbury was traveling west at a high rate of speed along the Edgartown Road when he lost control of his car, West Tisbury Police said in a press release issued Monday afternoon.
The accident took place across from the Mill Pond, where the posted speed limit is 20 miles per hour. About 100 yards farther on, the road ends at the intersection with State Road.
Police said the investigation showed that Mr. Finley's vehicle went into the east-bound lane for approximately 119 feet and hit a utility pole, traveled another 50 feet and struck a tree, traveled another 19 feet on its side before striking a tree stump and came to a rest on its roof in the eastbound lane.
West Tisbury Police and rescue personnel responded to the scene of the accident. Fire personnel used the Jaws of Life, hydraulic mechanical cutters, to extricate Mr. Finley from the vehicle. Tri-Town Ambulance transported him to the Martha's Vineyard Hospital.
Police said that prior to the accident, they received a report alerting them to a driver in a BMW operating in an erratic manner.
Mr. Finely will be summonsed for an arraignment on charges of operating under the influence (third offense), negligent operation, operating after suspension, marked lane violation and speeding.
The accident occurred less than three weeks after the court revoked Mr. Finley's license in connection with a previous arrest.
On September 11, Mr. Finley appeared in Edgartown District Court on a second OUI-liquor arrest. He was sentenced to two years probation with 14-day inpatient care, and his license was revoked. For operating with a suspended license he was also sentenced to two years probation. He was assessed various fines.
According to district court records, Mr. Finley appeared in court on October 2, 2008 where a charge of OUI-liquor was continued without a finding for one year. The court ordered Mr. Finley to attend a driver alcohol education program and pay a program fee of $250 state fee along with other court charges and imposed a 45-day loss of license.
Das love boat docks in Menemsha
Following some discussion of Menemsha character, town sensibilities, and municipal commerce, Chilmark selectmen Tuesday approved a request by a Florida-based production company to film the U.S. segments of a popular, long running German television movie series known as the Das Traumschiff, or "Dream Boat," in Menemsha.
Paul Van Wormer, head of Wormerland Productions in Orlando, told the selectmen the series is similar to what American television viewers remember as "The Love Boat." He said that producer Wolfgang Rademann had filmed the show around the world for 20 years and had heard about Martha's Vineyard from his German friends.
After making a visit, he fell for the Island, Mr. Wormer said. Now, he wanted permission from the selectmen to film a scene at the Menemsha Texaco gas station.
Mr. Wormer assured the selectmen the show is very family friendly. He said the production would not interfere with ordinary activity and would likely take several hours to complete.
The film crew and cast, approximately 25 Germans and 15 Americans, will film a scene that shows the concierge of the ship in a convertible running into the captain on his motorcycle at the gas station. There was no discussion of whether the denizens of Squid Row would get speaking parts.
J.B. Riggs Parker, chairman of the selectmen, did not favor the proposal and invoked the s-word, which he enhanced with the adjective "very."
"I think Menemsha is for our townspeople and our visitors and not a place for making movies on a commercial basis. Mr. Parker said. "Menemsha is a very special place."
Selectman Warren Doty asked for one reason the town should say yes. Mr. Wormer suggested it could inspire an uptick in European tourism. Mr. Doty referenced an earlier film production that resulted in a donation to the Chilmark School travel program. Mr. Wormer said that something similar was a possibility and was not unusual in the industry.
Selectman Frank Fenner noted that the timing of the filming, October 23 or 24, would find Menemsha calm and peaceable. Mr. Fenner said he did not see why the filming would make much difference.
The vote was two to one, Mr. Parker opposed.
The German love boat crew also plans to film in Edgartown and Oak Bluffs.
Oak Bluffs gets DEP all clear
Life returned to normal for many Oak Bluffs residents Friday morning, after the state Department of Environmental Protection lifted a boil water order imposed on September 25 on the Oak Bluffs Water Department (OBWD).
The DEP required that water tests taken on three consecutive days be free of contaminating bacteria before the state officials would lift the boil water order imposed following earlier tests that revealed the presence of coliform bacteria. Tests of water samples taken the following Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday (September 28, 29, and 30) were free of coliform bacteria.
The OBWD last week advised users who may be sensitive to chlorine to be cautious. "Even though we have been cleared, we have not cleared the chlorination phase of this order," the OBWD said in a press release emailed to The Times on Friday.
Yesterday, OBWD superintendent Thomas Degnan said residual chlorination remains in the system. He advised water customers sensitive to chlorine to continue to be cautious.
The problem began when routine monthly sampling of the town water system showed the presence of coliform bacteria in the water. Coliform bacteria are naturally present in the environment and are used by environmental officials as indicators that other, potentially more harmful, bacteria may be present that can only be revealed with further testing.
On Friday, September 25, DEP telephoned the water department at 4:15 pm and imposed a "boil water order."
The lifting of the order was good news for residents who were forced to boil water or rely on bottled water and for beleaguered water district staff and town officials, who were besieged by residents who complained about the lack of timely notification and the difficulty of getting information.
Yesterday, Mr. Degnan said water department staff and town personnel met on Tuesday to review the communications effort and other aspects of the water emergency. According to town administrator Michael Dutton, the town is considering several ideas, including a mass broadcast to mobile phones, phone trees, and e-mail blasts. The town has already put a form on its web site that residents may use to sign up for e-mail notification of emergencies.
Vineyard Gazette circulation numbers mixed
The Vineyard Gazette circulation statement published Friday revealed that the newspaper's core off-Island and on-Island subscriber base declined in 2008, while newsstand sales increased modestly.
The figures, an average for the preceding 12 months, were included in the Edgartown weekly's U.S Postal Service Statement of Ownership, Management and Circulation, published annually the first week in October, a requirement of publications mailed at second-class postal rates.
The newspaper's paid subscriptions outside Dukes County dropped from 4,284 to 4,005, while the number of newspapers mailed to Island postal customers dropped from 1,906 to 1,871.
However, newsstand and counter sales increased from 2,663 to 2,955.
The Gazette's total paid distribution increased from 8,872 to 8,882, primarily on the strength of newsstand sales.
The postal statement lists the owners of the Gazette as Richard and Mary Jo Reston of Sarasota, Florida, Thomas B. Reston of Washington, D.C., and James B. Reston of Chevy Chase, Maryland.
In a page 2 story, published October 2, under the headline, "Gazette circulation remains steady," Gazette general manager Joe Pitt put a bright spin on the numbers. "Up is up, and very few newspapers are able to say they are up," he said.
The Gazette story pointed out that The Times is not required to publish its circulation numbers "although the newspaper frequently touts its circulation as higher than the Gazette." Dismissing the fact that the Times on-Island circulation is more than twice that of the Gazette, Mr. Pitt said the comparison is "apples and oranges."
The Times circulation figures are published weekly. Those figures and US Post Office documentation of them are readily available, MV Times managing editor Nelson Sigelman said this week.
On October 1, The Times was delivered to 11,825 Island postal customers (Chilmark 800; West Tisbury 1,175; Vineyard Haven 4,500; Oak Bluffs 2,100; Edgartown 3,250). In addition, another 3,500 newspapers were delivered to 35 inns and newsstands.
Farm Neck Foundation calls for grant applications
The Farm Neck Foundation is now accepting grant applications from eligible Island nonprofit organizations whose goal is to improve the quality of life in the Martha's Vineyard community, according to a press release.
The Farm Neck Foundation, Inc. is a charitable organization created in 1989 and funded by contributions from the membership and supporters of Farm Neck Golf Club in Oak Bluffs. The aim of the foundation, according to a press statement, is to provide charitable assistance to the Island community in the form of donations and grants to civic-minded organizations in need of funding.
Traditionally, the Foundation board does not award grants two years in a row to the same organization. The Foundation said it gives "special consideration to innovative approaches to problems or needs that cannot get funding through traditional sources."
Island nonprofit organizations are invited to submit a concise proposal describing their specific project, its potential benefits, budgetary requirements and grant amount requested. Proposals must be received by November 1 and may be sent to the Farm Neck Foundation, Inc., P.O. Box 1656, Oak Bluffs, MA 02557.
Lambert's Cove housing project to break ground
A groundbreaking ceremony on Wednesday from 3 to 4 pm will launch the construction of Lambert's Cove, a new cluster of four single-family affordable homes in Tisbury.
Members of the Island Housing Trust (IHT), the Island Affordable Housing Fund (IAHF), and the Tisbury Affordable Housing Committee (TAHC) will host a ceremony for co-workers, friends, neighbors, and everyone associated with the project at the Lambert's Cove Road site.
The site is located on the Tisbury end of Lambert's Cove Road. Attendees are asked to follow the balloons and park on John Hoft Road.
After the Tisbury zoning board of appeals granted TAHC a Chapter 40B comprehensive permit to build the four homes, Tisbury sold the three-acre parcel of land to the nonprofit IHT in March 2009 for $24,000. The price equaled the town's out-of-pocket pre-development costs for the property, such as engineering, surveying, and architect services.
Voters approved using $250,000 from Tisbury's Community Preservation Act funds and the IAHF committed $160,000 towards the project's pre-development and construction costs. Predevelopment financing was arranged through Martha's Vineyard Savings Bank and $1,050,000 in construction financing from the Edgartown National Bank.
The $1.2 million project is expected to provide employment for 40 to 60 local construction-related workers, including 14 local subcontractors and local material suppliers.
Sullivan and O'Connor Architects of Oak Bluffs designed the houses. The IHT hired Gene Mazzaferro of ICMC in Vineyard Haven as the general contractor.
The four homes will include "green" features such as super-insulated walls, triple-glazed windows, high-efficiency heating systems, vapor and air sealing, and heat recovery ventilation systems.
The building envelope for the cluster of four houses will occupy half the property, with the remainder left in its natural state, including a trail easement along the southern boundary held by the Tisbury Conservation Commission.
The four houses will be sold and the land ground-leased with resale restrictions to income-qualified households earning 80, 100, 120, and 140 percent or less of the Island's median income level by September of 2010.
The IHT will work with the Dukes County Regional Housing Authority, the TAHC, and the state Department of Housing and Community Development to qualify potential homebuyers according to income and conduct a lottery selection.
The rain date for the opening is October 15, 3-4 pm.
The story, "Small nonprofits weather the storm," in last week's Times erred in reporting the drop in contributions to the FARM Institute. FARM contributions, which constitute 60 percent of the FARM's income, were down slightly from the previous year.
A story in the October 1 issue of The Times, "Harvest Week for Island Grown Schools Program," incorrectly identified teacher Holly Bellebuono as a volunteer. Also, Alice Robinson's family consumer safety class was mislabeled.