Tisbury will hold public a hearing on waterways regulations


The Tisbury selectmen will hold a public hearing at 6 pm on Tuesday, January 22, to discuss proposed amendments to the town’s waterway regulations regarding the town’s boat pump-out program and mooring and other fees.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) designated state waters south of Cape Cod and surrounding Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket as the Southern Cape Cod No Discharge Area (NDA) on June 29, 2012. The designation is significant for boaters because it triggered new regulations which prohibit the discharge of any treated or untreated sewage from all vessels in the 807-square-mile area.

Tisbury town officials, harbor management committee members, and marina owners have been in discussion about how to handle any increase in demand and expense for the town’s pump-out service for boat septage. Tisbury has applied for and received funds to offer a free sewage pump-out service for boats in Vineyard Haven Harbor, Lake Tashmoo, and Lagoon Pond since 1995.

Although local marine businesses and facilities contributed some in-kind services and financial contributions in the past, those vary from year to year and from business to business, because there is no formal arrangement with the town, according to the town’s Tashmoo Management and Harbor Management committees.

In order to clarify the parameters of the town’s responsibilities for pump-outs, a joint committee with members from both harbor committees recently voted to recommend a new town regulation, according to a memo dated December 13, to the Tisbury selectmen.

The proposed regulation that will be considered at the hearing states, “Any business providing services to transient boaters, including dockage and mooring rental, must provide pump-out services for their customers.”

The committee also voted to support a five-year plan to increase mooring fees by 20 percent in the first year, followed by two 10 percent increases each in alternate years over the next four.