Tisbury stays old fire barn demo, opens Tashmoo to scalloping

Tisbury's old fire station, built in 1955, will soon be gone as a familiar Beach Street landmark. — Photo by Ralph Stewart

Tisbury selectmen announced Tuesday night that the demolition of Tisbury’s old fire station on Beach Road, tentatively scheduled for the first week of December, has been postponed for at least two weeks. Plans call for razing the old building and clearing the site for use as a town public parking lot with a meter system.

In the interim, at fire Chief John Schilling’s recommendation, the selectmen agreed to declare some old fire station equipment surplus and to donate a self-contained breathing apparatus system to Aquinnah’s fire department.

Mid-meeting, the selectmen held a public hearing to review plans to turn the former department of public works garage site on Spring Street into a parking lot for Tisbury School employees. Voters previously approved a total of $50,000 toward the project, at two separate town meetings.

Selectmen signed a memorandum of understanding on November 19, to be signed by Tisbury School officials, declaring that the town will maintain the lot and review the terms of its use annually.

At the conclusion of Tuesday’s public hearing the selectmen agreed to ask DPW director Fred LaPiana to modify the parking lot plan to remove street lights to reduce costs, to eliminate four parking spaces to improve access, and to work with Eric and Karen Medeiros, whose property abuts the lot, on fencing and plantings.

Acting town administrator Aase Jones introduced EMT-Paramedic Tracey Jones as the town’s new ambulance coordinator. Ms. Jones was recommended by a search committee to replace Jeff Pratt, who is retiring, effective January 2. 2013. She will be paid $59,425, which is level M-5, step 1 on the town’s wage scale for managerial and professional employees. Aase Jones and Tracey Jones are not related.

The selectmen set Saturday, December 1, as the opening date for harvesting scallops in Lake Tashmoo, by dip-net only. Commercial fisherman Tom Searle questioned the restriction to dip-netting, which he said was unmanageable in some areas where the water is 12 to 14 feet deep. He argued that commercial fishermen and family permit holders alike should be allowed to dredge in the deeper areas. Selectman chairman Tristan Israel advised him to discuss the issue with shellfish constable Danielle Ewart and the shellfish advisory committee.

In department reports, emergency services facility building committee chairman Joe Tierney said negotiations continue between the town and general contractor Seaver Corporation on closing out the project.

In a follow-up to an October 16 public hearing on shellfish regulation amendments, shellfish advisory committee chairman James Tilton reported that the committee decided a standard bushel box should measure 18 x 10.5 by 12.25 inches, plus or minus a quarter inch, and a standard basket should hold one bushel, or 32 quarts and be approved by the shellfish constable. The committee also agreed to define a gang dredge as two or more dredges attached side by side. The selectmen will hold a public hearing to discuss the proposed changes at 6 pm on December 11.

In other business, the selectmen voted to accept a standard social media policy for municipal employees provided by town counsel; to reappoint George Balco for two years as the town’s Steamship Authority Port Council representative; and to approve beer and wine renewal license applications for Black Dog Tavern and its Bakery/Cafe, Le Grenier, Mon Amour, and Zephrus Restaurant.

In response to a question from selectman Jeff Kristal, police Chief Dan Hanavan said there have been no problems associated with serving beer and wine and that the establishments are all well run.

The selectmen also agreed to buy heating oil for town buildings through a joint county-wide contract with R.M. Packer Company in Tisbury, at a rate of $0.2672/gal. above the “Boston rack price,” a standard index that fluctuates with the wholesale supply and demand of fuel oil.