Tisbury approves new beer/wine license applications

Tisbury selectmen Geoghan Coogan and Tristan Israel approved new beer and wine license applications for Little House Café on State Road and Tropical Restaurant and Bakery on Beach Street, following public hearings at a meeting Tuesday night. Selectman chairman Jeff Kristal was absent.

The Little House Café currently serves breakfast and lunch from 7 am to 3 pm six days a week. Manager and part-owner Jenik Khelalfa Munafo said the restaurant would switch from counter service at breakfast to table service at 11:30 am, in order to serve beer and wine at lunch. The café will begin dinner service a few nights a week this winter, she said.

Although Tropical Restaurant and Bakery already serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, owner Joelson Cardoso said he would expand his establishment’s hours from 11 am-11 pm if licensed to sell beer and wine. The restaurant’s buffet operation would remain the same, with beer and wine served to patrons once they are seated at a table with their meal, Mr. Cardoso said. The selectmen asked him to provide a more detailed floor plan.

There were no public comments during the two hearings. The selectmen approved both license applications for submittal for approval by the Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission (ABCC), with the stipulation that the restaurants notify them in advance about special events.

Embarkation fee requests

In other business, the selectmen approved sending embarkation fee requests from the police, fire, ambulance, shellfish, and harbor departments for consideration by the town’s embarkation fee committee.

Tisbury receives embarkation fee revenue that is generated from a legislatively imposed 50-cent surcharge on one-way ferry passenger tickets. The law requires that the money be used only for mitigating the impact of ferry service on the city or town. Those uses include providing harbor services, public safety protection, emergency services or infrastructure improvements.

Town officials have used the legislation’s definition to include most any emergency services spending. Embarkation funds have been used to pay for ambulance service equipment, a fire truck, to purchase and equip a police vehicle, and to upgrade training, equipment, and uniforms for seasonal employees.

At Tuesday’s meeting the selectmen reviewed spending requests that included a truck for the shellfish department, a 4×4 diesel truck and trailer for the fire department, a Crown Victoria patrol car for the police department, and an automatic CPR compression machine for the ambulance department.

Towns to weigh in on MVC checklist

In the town administrator’s report, John Bugbee said he received an email from Oak Bluffs town administrator Michael Dutton asking if Tisbury would be interested in joining Oak Bluffs and Edgartown in examining the Martha’s Vineyard Commission’s (MVC) development of regional impact (DRI) checklist that triggers a project’s review by the commission.

“I don’t have the specifics, in terms of what they want changed, but what I can tell you is that Oak Bluffs recently has had some situations where developers and people interested in opening businesses abandoned their project because of the fact that it was triggering a review process that they didn’t want to pay the legal fees or the study fees or what have you,” Mr. Bugbee said.

The Edgartown selectmen recently unanimously approved a special town meeting warrant article that would authorize them to take the necessary steps to withdraw from the MVC. Voters are scheduled to decide the issue at a special town meeting December 14.

Mr. Israel, who formerly served on the MVC, defended the commission’s process but also agreed it might be helpful to examine the DRI checklist criteria.

“I’m certainly a proponent of the MV Commission; I think they serve a purpose,” Mr. Coogan said. However, he added, “I think there are holes in the checklist. I think there are holes in the process, and how they hold hearings.”

Since the MVC’s land use planning committee (LUPC) will hold a public meeting on the DRI checklist on January 10, 2011, Mr. Coogan said he agreed with Mr. Israel that there was no need for the three towns to hold their own hearings.

“I think what people and developers get stuck on is the process, which is too long,” Mr. Coogan said.

Project applicants figure it will take at least six months before they finish the MVC review and can return to their towns for a decision, he pointed out.

“The other flaw is in that checklist,” Mr. Coogan said. “The problem is you get different building inspectors, different zoning boards, and different boards of selectmen looking at and interpreting them in different ways.”

He and Mr. Israel agreed to send letters to the planning board and building and zoning inspector with a request for their comments on the DRI checklist before the MVC hearing.

Other business

Under departmental reports, Police Chief Dan Hanavan recommended the appointment of Brian McCarty as a special police officer through June 30, 2011, which the selectmen approved. Mr. McCarty formerly served as a police officer in Cleveland, Ohio, and as a technical sergeant in the Air National Guard for 10 years.

In other business, the selectmen approved NSTAR’s petition to install cable and conduit underground at 1165 Main Street; agreed to participate jointly with Oak Bluffs in a home rehabilitation and childcare subsidy grant application; and appointed Bruce Doten to serve out R. Spinney’s term on the Council on Aging through June 30, 2011.