Lambert's Cove Church disbands
Sunday, members of the Lambert's Cove Christian Church, assembled at the Bethel in the Tisbury American Legion Hall. The tiny congregation has met weekly at the Legion Hall since being forced out of their Lambert's Cove Church home by officers of the New England Conference of the United Methodist Church in January of 2000.
The members of the small congregation, some of whom had been lifelong members for 75 years and more, agreed with their minister, the Rev. Dr. George Eli, to discontinue weekly worship services and disperse funds remaining from the generous benefaction of the late Miles Carpenter, thus ending a story of continuous weekly worship begun in 1846.
Housing trust to host open house for eco-development
The Island Housing Trust (IHT) has scheduled a tour and open house for eight "eco-friendly" houses known as Eliakim's Way currently under construction off State Road in West Tisbury from 11 am to noon on Saturday, Jan. 9.
The development is named after Eliakim Norton, a prominent citizen of Martha's Vineyard who owned the land in the 1700s.
The homes are clustered on an eight-acre parcel, subdivided from a 20-acre parcel the Trust purchased in partnership with the Martha's Vineyard Land Bank.
Philippe Jordi, IHT executive director, will explain how the project, described as a model for future efforts, was made possible through a collaborative effort that included the Land Bank, Cape Light Compact, Habitat for Humanity of Martha's Vineyard, the Island Affordable Housing Fund and the Town of West Tisbury.
The houses are being built with the latest energy saving techniques and feature rooftop solar panels.
Contractor John Abrams of South Mountain Company will explain how the neighborhood of houses is designed to achieve the highest green building certification in the country (LEED Platinum).
The public is invited. People interested in learning about "high performance design and construction, conservation based affordable housing, permanently affordable housing, and those with questions about the project," are urged to attend, according to a press release.
Eliakim's Way is located off State Road near Nip 'n' Tuck Farm. Look for the green balloons that will mark the entrance.
New prices and options from Cape Light Compact
Electricity prices for Martha's Vineyard and Cape Cod will be reduced by 30 percent over current 2009 rates for the first six months of 2010, according to a recent press release from Cape Light Compact (CLC) and its electricity supplier, ConEdison Solutions.
Basic service rates for January through July 2010 meter-read dates for residential customers are 8.790 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) for residential customers, 9.260 cents per kWh for small commercial customers, and 9.019 cents per kWh for large industrial customers.
"We would also like to invite any customers who have left the Compact for other competitive suppliers to come back and take a second look at our excellent new rates and quality services," CLC senior power supply planner Joseph Soares said in the release. There is no fee to rejoin or leave CLC.
Beer yes, grants yes, tours no in Edgartown
Edgartown selectmen approved a license to sell beer and wine for the new owners of the Village Market, a convenience store and gas station, at 199 Main Street. The new establishment will be called Sophia's One Stop Mart and managed by Paulo Rodriguez, who represented the business before the board of selectmen at their regular meeting Monday.
The owners of two other Edgartown liquor stores spoke against granting the license, but selectmen approved it unanimously.
Also Monday, selectmen voted to apply for federal block grants again this year. The town received nearly $1 million for the current year, and home improvement projects for income-qualified residents are now getting underway. The money comes in the form of a no-interest forgivable loan, which does not have to be paid back if the resident, or a family member, remains in the home for 15 years. Melissa Vincent, who manages the program for The Resource, Inc. (TRI), and Alice Boyd, who writes the grant applications, said they expect to apply for $1 million in home improvement grants next year, as well as an additional $200,000 in grants to support child care for working parents on the Island. This year, residents of West Tisbury and Aquinnah will be able to apply for the grants.
Selectmen heard from two businessmen who want to begin offering motor tours of Edgartown. Police chief Paul Condlin was skeptical of the plans outlined separately by Ron Minkin and Barry Lopez. He expressed concern about the tour vehicles on narrow, already congested streets. Selectmen made no decision. They asked the two men to secure needed permits in Vineyard Haven and Oak Bluffs first.
Martha's Vineyard Airport remains quiet
Travelers passing through Martha's Vineyard Airport will not encounter the delays associated with ramped up security measures at larger, busier travel hubs.
Sean Flynn, airport manager, said Cape Air provides the only commercial flights at this time of the year. He said the airport is quiet, and there are no significant delays associated with screening measures.
But Mr. Flynn said travelers should plan on arriving early when traveling to other airports for connecting flights.
MVC approves Island wind DCPC land zone
The Martha's Vineyard Commission recently voted to designate a proposed land zone as a district of critical planning concern (DCPC) in an Island Wind District.
The area nominated as a DCPC included airspace 150 feet above all lands and inland waters within Dukes County, except the Elizabeth Islands, the Indian Common Lands, and the settlement lands, from the mean low water line landward.
The 12-0 vote to approve the designation, which took place on December 17, triggered a one-year moratorium on all building projects higher than 150 feet.
"We are not aware of any imminent projects that might be affected," MVC executive director Mark London wrote in an email last week. "The West Tisbury School and the Edgartown Wastewater Treatment Plan projects are excluded."
Although a group of small farm owners are concerned that the DCPC would affect progress on their farm-to-school wind energy initiative to build a network of wind turbines to produce electricity for use at farms and schools, Mr. London said building permits already have been issued for putting up meteorological towers at two farms.
During the year that the building moratorium is in effect, Island towns will propose regulations for the new Island Wind District land zone, in conformance with the MVC's guidelines for development.
After a public hearing, if the towns' regulations are found in conformance, the MVC will vote to approve them. Then the regulations must be approved by a two-thirds majority at town meetings, which ends the building moratorium. That could happen in less than a year's time, Mr. London pointed out.
"If the towns adopt regulations under the DCPC, either at the annual town meetings in the spring or at special town meetings later in the year, the moratoriums automatically end," he said in his email.
Police caution New Year's revelers
Oak Bluffs and Edgartown police plan special vigilance over the New Year's holiday.
Oak Bluffs Police Lt. Tim Williamson said that his department will take advantage of grant funds from the "You drink, you drive, you lose" campaign to assign officers to designated patrols looking for impaired drivers throughout the holiday weekend.
Lieutenant Williamson said people who plan to drink ought to take a cab or use a designated driver. He advised Islanders to be safe and happy and "buckle up."
Edgartown Police Sergeant Ken Johnson echoed Mr. Williamson's advice. He said that Edgartown Police will add patrols. "You don't want to end up in jail or the hospital," Mr. Johnson said.
While New Year's Eve partying is traditional, police said that in recent years the Island has been quiet, perhaps because people know police are on the case.
Tisbury FY10 tax rates certified
The state Department of Revenue (DOR) has certified Tisbury's fiscal 2010 (FY10) tax rates.
The new residential rate is $6.57 per $1,000 of assessed valuation. The commercial rate is $8.27 per $1,000.
At a hearing in early December, the Tisbury selectmen voted to grant year-round residents a 20-percent break on the assessed value of their real estate, for tax purposes.
The residential assessment exemption for FY10 is $164,698, which amounts to a tax dollar amount of $1,082.06, according to Tisbury assistant assessor Ann Marie Cywinski.
The residential exemption applies to property owners who have filed an application along with copies of documents proving they lived year-round as Tisbury residents as of January 1 of the fiscal year preceding the year for which they are seeking an exemption.
The Tisbury selectmen approved January 8 as the mailing date for the town's quarterly tax bills, which will be due 30 days later.
Ocean zoning plan expected Monday
Facing a Friday deadline, Massachusetts energy and environmental officials said it looks like they will run a couple of days over and publicly release their final ocean zoning plan on Monday. The plan will dictate which areas of the state's coastal waters are off limits to offshore wind farms and which areas may become hosts to networks of wind turbines. The Patrick administration released a draft plan over the summer and has accepted public comments on it in recent months.
The draft plan would allow for small wind farms of 10 or fewer turbines off the immediate Vineyard coast and larger wind farms to be developed south and west of Nomans Land and west of Cuttyhunk.
The ocean management plan is part of an effort to regulate and offer guidance to offshore developments, including wind turbines, cables and pipelines, and sand mining projects. Up to now, development in state waters has been handled on an ad hoc basis.
The prospect of a commercial wind farm within sight of the Vineyard has alarmed some Island officials and residents.