W.T. library trustees want volunteers
A state grant possible, the library wants building committee formed
The West Tisbury Free Public Library will place newspaper advertisements this week to recruit as many as seven volunteers to serve on a building committee, library trustee Linda Hearn informed the selectmen at their weekly meeting on March 10.
Selectman Richard Knabel told Ms. Hearn that it is a good idea that the library trustees were moving ahead with a "study committee."
"This is not a study committee, it is a building committee," Ms. Hearn said. She cited a planning schedule that had been presented to the selectmen in February by Chuck Hodgkinson, of West Tisbury, who was chairman of the former Space Needs Committee. In that report Mr. Hodgkinson told the selectmen that the Library building committee would need to be formed in March 2010.
According to the report that Mr. Hodgkinson presented, the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) has recently announced a new library grant program and if West Tisbury's Library wishes to compete for the funds a letter of intent must be submitted by August. If the West Tisbury Library were to receive a grant it could provide for as much as 60 percent of the library expansion project total cost.
Ms. Hearn told the selectmen that to get the MBLC grant the library would have to break ground by September 2012, which is two years earlier than originally scheduled.
In his written report, Mr. Hodgkinson stated the MBLC grant application must be submitted in 2011, and in order to meet that deadline the library would need to begin the process in 2010 by creating a building committee, beginning private fundraising, updating the Library needs assessment, holding public forums on the plan, hiring a project manager and an architect, developing the strategy for land acquisition, submitting the letter of intent to the MBLC. In the fall the Library would submit a Community Preservation Act (CPA) funds application so that it is on the April 2011 Town Meeting warrant.
The MBLC state grant winners would be announced in May or June 2011 and accept the grant in December. In 2012, at April Town Meeting the funds would be sought. If the plan remains on schedule, construction could begin as early as the fourth quarter of 2012 and could be completed as early as the fourth quarter of 2013.
Selectman Jeffrey (Skipper) Manter asked Ms. Hearn and executive secretary Jennifer Rand about the appointment process to the committee. Ms. Rand told the selectmen that the building committee appointments would be made jointly by the selectmen and the Library Board because the town owns the building.
In other business, Clarence (Trip) Barnes invited the selectmen to visit his property at 534 State Road. A recent article in The Times reported on the multi-year effort by Ernie Mendenhall the West Tisbury building inspector, to get Mr. Barnes to clean up his property and obtain an occupancy permit for the apartment building in the rear of the property.
Mr. Barnes was ticketed repeatedly in 2007 for operating a junk yard, storing more than one unlicensed motor vehicle, and failing to obtain an occupancy permit for an apartment building in violation of town zoning bylaws. The citations resulted in numerous Edgartown District Court appearances and continuances allowing Mr. Barnes to meet the town's requirements or pay a $4,000 fine. In March 2009, Mr. Barnes was given six months to make the improvements. However, when that six-month period expired, the Court vacated the findings because it had not been notified that Mr. Barnes had not complied. Last week, Mr. Mendenhall informed the selectmen that he would be consulting with town counsel to determine how best to proceed.
Mr. Barnes told the selectmen that he is "obligated to produce affordable housing" in the building formerly the Wee People Pre-School, but he expects the project to be completed by the middle of the summer. "I thought I was doing something good, but evidently it has turned into a nightmare for the town," he said. "If we could move ahead without going back to court I would like to do that."
Mr. Knabel told Mr. Barnes that the selectmen were not in charge of enforcing the building codes. "The issue is with the building and zoning inspector and the Zoning Board of Appeals not the selectmen," he said.
Chairman Diane Powers thanked Mr. Barnes for the update. At the conclusion of the selectmen's meeting, Mr. Mendenhall told The Times that after conferring with town counsel, he will be seeking a hearing at the Dukes County Superior Court in early April "to try to force compliance."