Chilmark selectmen put energy district proposal on warrant
Chilmark selectmen Tuesday agreed to place an article on the annual town meeting warrant related to a proposed Island-wide energy conservation District of Critical Planning Concern (DCPC). If approved at town meeting, the article would authorize the selectmen to appoint three representatives to an Island-wide advisory group that would draft a nomination with proposed guidelines and regulations for the DCPC. The plan would eventually be sent to the Martha's Vineyard Commission.
Tisbury, West Tisbury, and Aquinnah are considering similar articles on upcoming town meeting warrants. Edgartown has referred the issue to their planning board.
The selectmen expressed some reservations about the proposed energy district, and they made it clear they want voters' approval before moving ahead. "I don't know anything about the moratorium," Chairman Riggs Parker said. "I wouldn't want a moratorium on light bulbs." He was referring to part of the proposal that includes a moratorium on building that allows for exceptions by special permit. "I don't see how they can impose anything upon us," he added.
Mr. Doty said the proposed DCPC's focus would be on renewable energy sources, but he suggested it could also focus on energy efficiency, saying, "That's our biggest hope."
The selectmen were not ready to discuss or adopt the implementation guidelines for the Chilmark homesite housing bylaws, which will apply to all the town's affordable housing plans. They said they had not had enough time to review notes from a joint meeting with the housing committee last week, which they received Tuesday night. They want to schedule another meeting with the housing committee to clarify their agreement to the guidelines changes before they formally adopt them.
Last week, the selectmen and housing committee members agreed to several changes to the guidelines with no controversy, housing committee member Andy Goldman said Tuesday. Changes included increasing a potential homebuyers' net worth limit from $50,000 to $100,000 for those under 55 and from $150,000 to $175,000 for buyers over 55. That change was made based on comments from potential homebuyers at a public hearing last month relating to bank financing requirements, he said.
The two groups also agreed to limit rentals to those that are affordable and to refer them to the Duke's County Housing Authority. The selectmen had some concerns about the proposal that would have allowed homeowners in affordable housing units to rent their homes for up to six weeks a year, Mr. Goldman said.
The rental guidelines have not been completed and the Middle Line Road affordable housing project will need additional requirements, Mr. Goldman added. The guidelines changes will be sent this week to the town counsel for review. The selectmen have the final say on adopting the guidelines.