Oak Bluffs library facilities raise questions
Oak Bluffs selectman Roger Wey expressed concern this week about what he said were numerous malfunctions within the town's public library. The two-floor library with meeting rooms and free wireless Internet access has been open to the public since November of 2005.
Mr. Wey distributed a memo, written by Oak Bluffs resident and library trustee Robert Ford, at the board's meeting Tuesday night. Mr. Ford signed the memo, dated Monday, as "a concerned private citizen." Mr. Wey echoed concerns in the memo that said there have been consistent problems with the heating and cooling system, bathrooms, and leaks throughout the building.
"The building's a great structure, we all agree, and it's a great part of the community, but we've got to get this cleared up," Mr. Wey said at Tuesday's meeting.
The memo also states that the library needs an assigned custodian that has "training/knowledge of infrastructure, heat, HVAC, plumbing, in order to make minor repairs and adjustments, and/or contract for outside services."
Library trustee chairman Richard Ball said the trustees are in constant contact with the contractors, who are aware of the problems. "Overall, everything's working fine, but you do have a few glitches once in a while. Not only in the library but in all new buildings," Mr. Ball said in a telephone conversation yesterday. "We've been aware of these problems for several months, and the problems that are arising are being addressed by the town administrator."
Town administrator Michael Dutton is away this week and was unavailable for comment.
The selectmen hold their biweekly meetings in the library's meeting room. The heating and cooling system has been a constant point of frustration among selectmen and audience members, due to its repeated shrill outbursts that drown out the selectmen, despite their use of microphones.
Mr. Ford's memo adds that the "HVAC is out of control" and notes the "noisy fan coil unit in meeting room."
Selectmen accepted the memo into the public record Tuesday, and said they would keep an eye on the repairs.
Public hearings now required
Revisiting the issue of noise, selectmen voted Tuesday to hold public hearings for every establishment seeking an entertainment license for the upcoming summer season. The subject has been a popular topic among town officials recently, and selectmen had said they wanted to take action before the 2007 season starts up.
"[This year] when we meet with people to give them licenses, we make very clear what is expected of them," selectman chairman Duncan Ross said Tuesday. "Can we make it letter perfect this summer? Probably not. Can we make some great strides? Sure."
In order to speed up the process for businesses that haven't negatively affected their neighbors, selectmen said they would group businesses that have had no complaints lodged against them together in one public hearing.
"I hate to see us tied up with hours of hearings," selectman Greg Coogan said. "I hope we can find a shortcut for those businesses that have done well in the past."
In the past, establishments with entertainment licenses simply had to apply for a renewal license. Now, selectman said they would ask the business to come in for a public hearing before each season, to give neighbors a change to weigh in.
Also, if businesses receive a rash of complaints this season and refuse to cooperate with neighbors, police, and selectmen, the board has the right to revoke their entertainment license, Mr. Ross said.
In other business, the selectman gave NSTAR approval to erect poles on Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road and Kennebec Avenue, with a proviso that the latter is not located in the middle of the sidewalk. No one from NSTAR was present to explain the exact location of the poles.
Selectmen also approved a request from the Shellfish Committee to open and close various sections of Sengekontacket Pond this spring, and to open a portion of Lagoon Pond on Aug. 25.
Saurabh Chhibber and Derek Hull were given approval to open a T-shirt and souvenir shop called Island Authentics at 27 Circuit Ave.