Tisbury selectmen solve short-term parking, not long-term rooster


The Tisbury selectmen have found a solution for short-term shoppers, but they have no answers for why an unclaimed rooster continues to disturb his immediate neighborhood.

Following a public hearing on May 17, the selectmen voted to extend the parking limits on Main Street from one to two hours. Tuesday, selectmen agreed to limit four parking spaces on Main Street to 30 minutes.

The 30-minute spaces will be near businesses with more frequent customer turnover, for example, Mocha Mott’s and the Capawock Theatre, in the first and second blocks, and Leslie’s Drug Store and Sovereign Bank at the end of Main Street.

Selectmen Geoghan Coogan and Tristan Israel favored designating spaces in different areas of Main Street. Selectman Jeff Kristal supported the 30-minute spaces, but opposed the motion because he wanted spaces grouped together for the sake of clarity.

Selectmen agreed with department of public works (DPW) director Fred LaPiana’s suggestion to locate the short-term spaces on the end of parking rows, with clearly visible signs.

Town administrator John Bugbee said in a follow-up phone conversation yesterday that the parking limit changes would take effect once new signs are obtained and put in place, likely in two to three weeks. Bunch of Grapes owner Dawn Braasch said the Tisbury Business Association would share the cost of the signs.

The selectmen also revisited the subject of Rupert, a rogue rooster whose early morning crowing around the Leonard Circle and surrounding areas has pitted neighbor against neighbor (Jan. 5, 2011, “Rupert splits ears and a Martha’s Vineyard neighborhood”).

At a meeting on May 17, the selectmen agreed to ask Animal Control Officer (ACO) Laurie Clements to catch the rooster (May 18, 2011, Rupert, a controversial rooster, frustrates a Tisbury neighborhood). They also suggested that someone in the neighborhood who likes Rupert might claim him as a pet, and apply for a special permit from the zoning board to keep the rooster on residential property.

Mr. Coogan, who chaired the meeting, said the selectmen received a letter from Betsy Shands, who did not attend the meeting, asking them to resolve the rooster issue. Mr. Coogan said selectmen had asked town counsel about legal options for removing the rooster from someone’s private property but had not received an answer.

“I think as a board we did what we could do, which is look into what we’re required to do, in telling the Animal Control Officer [ACO] to do what she’s supposed to do, if she can do anything,” Mr. Coogan said. “Absent that, this board really has no control over this.”

Ed Griggs, a resident of the adjacent Bernard Circle, told the selectmen Rupert frequently wakes him up at 3 am. He asked why the town had not taken steps to catch the rooster.

“The answer isn’t that we don’t want to; the answer is that we don’t know if we can,” Mr. Coogan said. “We have asked, and we’re waiting for answers.”

Mr. Coogan said the matter is also a civil matter between neighbors, which may not be something the selectmen can handle.

“I think it’s really bad citizenship for a person to not be concerned about her neighbors being woken up, at all hours of the night; it’s really bad,” Mr. Griggs said.

Mr. Israel suggested that the neighbors might contact a mediator to help resolve the rooster issue. “Dialogue is always constructive,” he said.

In a phone conversation with The Times yesterday, a reporter asked ACO Laurie Clements if she had been instructed by the selectmen to catch the rooster.

“I haven’t been officially told to catch the rooster. I cannot go on someone else’s property and take the rooster out of there, as far as I know. We are waiting to hear from town counsel, David Doneski,” she said.

Ms. Clements said she did attempt to capture the rooster a few times in the past, about a year ago, without success.

“I consider him feral,” she said. “My thought on it is that it’s not against the law to feed the turkeys or squirrels or chickadees because they’re animals that are coming and eating off your bird feeder, and so is the rooster.”

In other business at Tuesday’s meeting, the selectmen approved police Chief Dan Hanavan’s request to take the department’s unmarked police cruiser home and use it to respond to calls when off-duty. Chief Hanavan said the cruiser is equipped with lights, a radio, and first-aid equipment that he may need in an emergency.

The selectmen also approved a request from the NAACP of Martha’s Vineyard to support the branch’s Juneteenth celebration on Saturday, June 11, 2-4 pm, at the Tisbury Senior Center. Mr. Israel offered to attend and read a proclamation from the selectmen.

In an update on the recent closure of Lake Tashmoo Beach, Mr. Bugbee said the town received notification from the Massachusetts Audubon Society that the beach should remain closed 28 days from May 23 to protect a pair of nesting piping plovers and their four eggs. Once hatched, if the chicks remain in that vicinity, the beach would have to remain closed until they move on.