Public access agreement will fund Edgartown Harbor improvements

The agreement with the Vietor family will help fund improvements to Edgartown Harbor. — File photo by Susan Safford

Updated 10:15 am, January 24, 2012

Edgartown is planning a substantial waterfront spruce up, following a settlement between private property owners and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) over public access to the shoreline.

After several months of negotiation, members of the Vietor family, owners South Water Street property, agreed to pay $53,862 as mitigation for using state regulated shoreline property, without affording access to the public, as required by DEP regulations.

After consulting with the property owners last fall, the town’s conservation commission determined that public access was impractical. In such cases, state regulators may negotiate a mitigation agreement, usually a sum of money that is earmarked for waterfront improvements elsewhere.

The family, selectmen, and the conservation commission have agreed on a list of 10 items to be funded with the money.

The improvements include a new fish filet station at the town docks, new gutters and down spouts, as well as three new steel bollards for Memorial Wharf, a new fence between the wharf and the Chappy ferry, repair of steel harbor bulkheads, installation of an aluminum gangway for floating piers at the Katama boat ramp, permitting and construction of a dinghy dock on Chappaquiddick, a dinghy dock for Collins Beach, and signage and interpretive plaques for public access walkways.

The most expensive item on the list is the dinghy dock for Chappaquiddick, estimated to cost $13,000 for permitting and construction.

The estimated cost of all ten items is $49,492.

Town officials are awaiting final approval of the proposed projects from the DEP before beginning work.

This article was updated to reflect a correction. The Vietor family does not own the Harborside Inn.