Selectmen bid for ownership of Edgartown landmark

The town will purchase the iconic Edgartown Light. — File photo by Ralph Stewart

Edgartown selectmen approved an application to take ownership of the Edgartown Lighthouse at their Monday meeting. The federal government declared the lighthouse surplus property and offered it at a public auction last year.

If the federal government accepts the application, Edgartown town administrator Pam Dolby expects the purchase price to be $1, and expects the town to entrust the Martha’s Vineyard Museum with management and care of the iconic property, as it does now. The purchase of the lighthouse is subject to a town meeting vote.

According to Ms. Dolby, the town of Ipswich and a company in Arkansas intended to bid on the lighthouse, and if successful, they would dismantle and move it away. Both have since indicated that they will not compete with Edgartown to gain ownership.

Ms. Dolby said the application took more than two months of work to navigate the complex federal regulations that govern purchase of surplus property. After the unanimous vote, and after town clerk Wanda Williams certified the vote, chairman Michael Donaroma signed six copies of the application, each a two-inch thick binder of documents. The deadline for the application is Friday.

Hung up on hanger

Also Monday, town officials urged Nature Conservancy program director Matt Pelikan to act quickly on the latest version of a conservation restriction that governs use of the Katama Airpark. The Nature Conservancy, the Massachusetts Division of Conservation and Recreation, and the Edgartown Conservation Commission share responsibility for the conservation restriction, which governs development and protection of rare and endangered species. More than two years of negotiation over the documents has delayed construction of a new hangar.”It has been a long process and a very complicated one,” Mr. Pelikan told selectmen. “I’m cognizant that people are impatient.”The Katama Airport Commission, selectmen, and town counsel Ron Rappaport are among those who are frustrated with the conservation group.”I think the Nature Conservancy has been dreadfully slow and unresponsive,” Mr. Rappaport said.Mr. Pelikan promised to review the latest changes suggested by state regulators in a couple of days and get the documents to town counsel for his review.

In other action

In other action, Mr. Donaroma called for selectmen, with the help of town counsel, to create a process for using the town owned dredge to do work for private clients. Selectmen voted a moratorium on any private work after the town was fined when town employees dredged around a private dock owned by clients of the dredge advisory committee chairman, without any town, state, or federal permits.

“We put on hold any private jobs until we developed a process,” Mr. Donaroma. “We should start putting that process in place, dealing with procurement law, and how we are able to accept money from private clients.” Mr. Donaroma said his focus is not on doing small jobs around private docks, but on replenishing private beaches with sand dredged from approved public projects.

“When we dredge one area, we need a place to put it,” Mr. Donaroma said.

Library building committee chairman Carl Watt told selectmen the committee has received permission from the state to apply for the first $1 million of a $5 million state grant for a new library. Edgartown voters authorized taxpayer funds to finance the rest of the $11 million project. Selectmen plan to sign a contract with an architectural firm at their meeting next week.

Selectmen also unanimously appointed Glen Searle to the wastewater commission.