West Tisbury questions school fundraiser
The West Tisbury selectmen did not give automatic approval on April 18 to what seemed like a standard request for a school fundraiser. Instead, they delayed approval of the Martha's Vineyard Public Charter School's request to conduct a flea market on its property for 10 weeks during the summer.
The school asked to conduct the flea market using vendors who would pay for a table to display their wares. Those fees would go to the school, but not the proceeds of the vendors' sales. The selectmen asked building inspector Ernest Mendenhall's opinion of the request.
Mr. Mendenhall said the zoning bylaws do not give any guidance on such a function, but he added, "Personally, I feel it might be outside the parameters. It seems more business than educational. If someone does well, it doesn't benefit the school. I think it bears more thought."
He also pointed out that the school is in a residential district, and there is no grandfathered precedent for such an event there.
The selectmen asked Mr. Mendenhall to meet with the school business manager, who requested the board's permission, to learn more before they act on it.
In another matter, Mr. Mendenhall reported improvement of the conditions in the old library building on Music Street, which houses his and the board of health's offices. The three employees in the building had been having respiratory problems and other ailments since last fall.
Inspectors initially suspected mold spores and insulation under the building were the cause of their problems, but now they believe, based on further testing, that the primary cause is shrew feces, Mr. Mendenhall said.
"We have started trapping shrew," he told the selectmen. Other work, such as bleaching the mold, fixing the crawl space, and removing cloth chairs, is also under way.
Mr. Mendenhall also said the Preservation Trust, which owns the building and leases it to the town, is taking care of the problems. "It looks like we'll be able to resolve this," he said.
In other business, selectman Jeffrey "Skipper" Manter suggested the building committee that will be formed to work on renovating the town hall should not include selectmen, town employees, or previous building committee members. He said he would like two members of the space needs committee to be on the new building committee, which was approved at the recent town meeting. "We need to make it as clean and independent as possible," Mr. Manter said.
Selectmen Glenn Hearn and Dianne Powers, the newest selectman, agreed with those suggestions and that the committee should have five members. Applications for committee membership are due at town hall by Monday, April 30.
The selectmen also gave their support to an Island commercial fishing initiative, which would start a program to raise codfish. Letters of support from West Tisbury and other Island towns were presented to the New England Fishery Management Council last week.
Dan Waters was reappointed town poet laureate for another year.
Mr. Hearn was elected chairman of the selectmen, and Mr. Manter was elected vice chairman. Former chairman John Early has retired and Ms. Powers was elected two weeks ago to the seat he had held for 30 years.