West Tisbury revisits Mill Pond
The West Tisbury Mill Pond committee has a new third member. Selectmen last week unanimously approved the addition of Rez Williams, the only person who responded to a request for a volunteer.
Mr. Williams, an artist and long-time member of Island conservation organizations, replaces Kent Healy, who resigned from the three-member Mill Pond committee after a disagreement with selectmen and his colleagues on the committee.
Mr. Healy was opposed to the selectmen's approval of a request for Community Preservation Act funds for research and engineering design of a dredging effort. Committee members Bob Woodruff and Craig Saunders requested the funding and favor a dredging effort.
Following the Wednesday meeting, Mr. Williams, who lives a short distance up the Edgartown-West Tisbury Road, told The Times, "I volunteered because I know all of the players. I know the pond. And I used to be chairman of the conservation commission." Referring to a 2007 report the town commissioned on the pond, he said, "Dredging would be the most effective option. Dredging will prevent it from becoming a marsh."
Also at the meeting, the selectmen discussed the town's noise bylaw with town resident Nicolas Puner, who said he was appearing at the meeting on behalf of himself and two neighbors, Barbara Smith and William Stewart. He was there to discuss the noise emanating from Focus, a private Christian youth camp, and the Lambert's Cove Inn off Lambert's Cove Road, and changes to the bylaw.
In a letter to the selectmen, Mr. Puner said he and his neighbors were subjected to amplified music that he described as noise pollution, from both properties frequently. "In addition, Focus generates further noise pollution through near-daily boisterous outdoor activities, especially in the summer," he wrote.
Mr. Puner continued, "The town bylaw was intended to deal with occasional noise from residences. It contains no provision for dealing with both regular and continuous noise that is the byproduct of the routine activities occurring on special use operations located primarily in residential districts."
Initially, the selectmen advised Mr. Puner to draft his recommended bylaw language and submit it, along with 10 petition signatures, for a town meeting vote in the spring. After further discussion, the selectmen agreed to review the language Mr. Puner drafts and then decide if they wish to sponsor the bylaw change as a warrant on that meeting agenda.
But Mr. Puner apparently had a change of mind following a conversation with Lambert's Cove Inn owner Scott Jones.
Mr. Jones told The Times that he spoke to Mr. Puner and that Mr. Puner had agreed to withdraw his request for revision of the town's noise bylaw. Mr. Puner could not be reached for comment regarding any agreement.
Speaking with The Times about the rules under which his popular inn operates, Mr. Jones said the inn cuts off its outdoor music at 9:30 pm as a courtesy to its neighbors and hosts fewer than 10 weddings a year. "Maybe three or four are even outdoors," he said. "We would fight any effort to cut back the time further, because it would really hurt our business. Now, people wanting to book a wedding are unhappy to learn that they have to stop the music at 9:30 pm."
In other business on December 9, the selectmen also unanimously approved the recommendation of the shellfish committee to allow commercial fishermen to have unlicensed guests aboard their boats, as long as those guests do not touch fishing gear.
And, executive secretary Jennifer Rand announced that the Martha's Vineyard Horse Council had bestowed its 2009 Fisher Memorial Award to the renovated Town Hall project for "exemplifying the spirit of Anne and Tony Fisher through improvement and beautification of the Island be it a home, farm or business."