Two tough weeks in Tisbury
Special, annual meetings pose big questions
For Tisbury voters, the Tisbury School gymnasium is the place to be on the next two Tuesday nights. A special town meeting on April 6 will be followed by the annual town meeting on April 13. Both start at 7 pm.
In keeping with Tisbury's tradition, the special town meeting warrant addresses non-appropriation articles. Two of the 13 articles, if approved, would move the town's long-awaited connector road project closer to fruition.
The connector road will offer motorists the option to cut over from Edgartown-Vineyard Haven (Edg.-V.H.) Road along the access driveway now used by Island Food Products near the Edgartown National Bank branch and exit from either High Point Road or Holmes Hole Road onto State Road.
At last year's town meeting, voters approved borrowing $2.5 million to fund the connector road's design and construction. The final design was recently presented at a public hearing on March 2 held by Tisbury's department of public works (DPW).
Article 8 asks voters to authorize the town to acquire the necessary easements to construct the connector road and an associated shared use path (SUP) for bicyclists and pedestrians.
The connector road corridor design presented on March 2 included an SUP only on the portion that ran from State Road along High Point Lane past the DPW to the turnoff to Edg.-V.H. Road.
A path on the other portion of the connector road, along Holmes Hole Road, was designated a future development because the Martha's Vineyard Commission (MVC) had included it in an Island-wide bike and pedestrian path plan that would be funded separately.
However, in an update last week, DPW director Fred LaPiana said that based on suggestions incorporated from the public hearing, the second portion of the SUP will be included in seeking funds for the connector road project, as will the addition of a dedicated left-hand turn lane off of Edg.-V.H. Road to enter the connector road.
Article 9 seeks voters' approval for the connector road design and shared use path (SUP). It also would authorize the selectmen to apply for and accept funding from State or Federal agencies for the project's construction, and give the board of public works (BPW) commissioners construction authorization once funding is received.
Article 11 concerns another SUP unrelated to the connector road. In a plan dated February 20, 2010, MVC bicycle and pedestrian planning advisory committee members proposed the construction of an SUP that would serve as a cross-connection between Beach Road and Lagoon Pond Road.
The SUP would begin on Beach Road near Saltwater Restaurant, traverse Tisbury Market Place, cross behind H. J. Hinckley and Sons' property, and wind around Maciel Marine to Lagoon Pond Road, Mr. LaPiana said. The article asks voters to authorize the selectmen to enter into agreements for acquiring necessary easements with property owners.
Mr. LaPiana said the BPW commissioners sponsored the article in cooperation with the MVC's goal to create an interconnected bike and pedestrian path throughout the Island.
The BPW commissioners also submitted Article 10, which asks voters to authorize the selectmen to negotiate and grant a utility easement to GPCS Fiber Communications, in connection with a proposed project to run a fiber optic cable underwater from Fairhaven to Tisbury, via Woods Hole.
Tisbury voters approved a warrant article at a special town meeting in March 2008 to allow GPCS to build a 25- by 35-foot switching station for a fiber optic network, for service Island-wide, on DPW property off High Point Lane.
A utility easement would allow the installation of an underground utility vault in the Lake Tashmoo beach parking area in order to run the cable to the switching station.
The selectmen also are requesting an easement in Article 5 for 10 feet of town-owned property for use by NSTAR and Verizon to provide utility service to affordable housing units on Lambert's Cove Road.
Article six proposes that the town vote to accept provisions of legislation establishing a pooled trust fund for Other Post-Employment Benefits (OPEB) for government employers in Dukes County, and to join the county trust fund if it is established.
The planning board's Article 12 is the lengthiest. It proposes amending the zoning bylaw for the town's flood/storm district in keeping with updates on eligibility requirements for flood insurance and federal disaster relief funds. The amendment also outlines flood/storm rules and regulations, compliance, enforcement, and penalties.
Article 13 would amend a zoning bylaw regarding an accessory apartment. Among the zoning board of appeal's proposed revisions, an accessory dwelling would be limited to 40 percent of the existing living space, not to exceed 600 square feet. The owner of the lot would be required to be a Tisbury resident who occupies either the accessory apartment or the principal residence.
Article 7 asks voters to adopt penalties for violations of the town's new policy that prohibits dogs, with exceptions such as service animals, in municipal buildings. For a first offense, the animal control officer would issue a written warning, and for second and subsequent offenses, a $25 penalty.
Article 2 asks voters to elect Charles Conroy, Janet Messineo, and Ronald Rose to the town's fish committee for fiscal year 2011 to regulate herring fishing and access to Chappaquonsett Pond and Creek. The remaining articles deal with municipal "housekeeping" issues.
Tisbury's finance and advisory committee recommends passage of all of the articles.