Chilmark allows Creek lot sharing
The Chilmark selectmen agreed Tuesday to allow semi-retired local fisherman Chris Murphy to share his creek lot in Menemsha with a fisherman who is not a Chilmark resident.
Mr. Murphy told the selectmen that when he retired from commercial fishing, he tried unsuccessfully to find someone to take over his lot. Now that he is back to fishing part-time, he would like to share the lot with commercial fisherman Scott Stevens of Tisbury. The lease for a creek lot has to be to a Chilmark resident and a commercial fisherman.
"It's within your power to do whatever you want with the lots," Mr. Murphy told the selectmen. He said he would keep his boat at the site, along with Mr. Stevens, who, Mr. Murphy said, is an experienced fisherman and would be a great asset to Menemsha.
Photo by Tim Johnson
"It seems to me a great situation. Nothing says you have to live in Menemsha," Mr. Murphy said. "It would be a shame not to have him there."
Selectman chairman Riggs Parker said he had no problem with the proposal, but added that the selectmen should at some time address the issue of who can lease the lots.
Chilmark's expressed goal is to preserve the working character of its harbor. That effort has included retaining ownership of property along the harbor edge and leasing lots at very little cost to individuals and businesses involved with commercial fishing.
The town currently leases nine lots along the town bulkhead to businesses that include Larsen's Fish Market, Menemsha Texaco, and individual fishermen. The town leases seven smaller lots on the east side of the spit of land that divides Menemsha Basin from Menemsha Creek. Chilmark charges $10 a year for the 20-foot-wide creek lots on land deeded by the state with the stipulation it be reserved for commercial fishermen.
In other business, the selectmen learned of an error in calculating employee benefit payments for 12 employees. The total error added up to $723.
The selectmen will instruct town treasurer Melanie Becker to try to resolve the situation with ADP payroll services. They agreed the money should be paid back to the town, either by the employees or ADP. Timothy Carroll, executive secretary, said Ms. Becker has not been happy with ADP's work and is looking for a replacement.
Selectman Warren Doty, representative on the Middle Line Road affordable housing implementation committee, said the committee will submit a subdivision plan to the town planning board on Monday. He said the project, which will have six homes for purchase and six rental units, is progressing well.
The selectmen appointed Stephen Lewenberg to the personnel board after interviewing him at the meeting. Mr. Lewenberg has had a home in Chilmark since 1980 and is a semi-retired lawyer specializing in employment law.