Edgartown selectmen hear renewed interest in the Captain Warren House


Edgartown selectmen saw a glimmer of hope Monday regarding their long-thwarted plan to sell the decaying, town-owned Captain Warren House. The town bought the historic structure at 62 North Water Street for $3.5 million in 2004, as part of a plan to expand the Edgartown Library, which abuts the Warren House property.

Town administrator Pam Dolby told selectmen that the town has received 24 requests for copies of the town’s Request for Proposals (RFP’s). Responses are due to selectmen by Friday, September 13.

“I’m thinking positively that we might actually sell the Warren House this time,” Ms. Dolby said. “Hopefully that will happen.”

Selectmen considered a two-part bid this past June. A local businesswoman offered $1 million, with a 40 percent share of eventual resale profits to be paid to Edgartown, or an all cash bid of $1.25 million. Selectmen rejected both offers and voted to re-advertise, this time with a minimum asking price of $2.3 million and an offer to brokers of a three percent commission.

Chappy ferry maintenance

In anticipation of longer than usual lines of vehicles waiting to board the Chappy Ferry, when owner Peter Wells hauls one of his vessels for service, selectmen agreed to allow vehicles to wait in a designated loading zone lane along North Water Street, beginning September 3. Mr. Wells told selectmen at a meeting last month that ferry would be hauled for maintenance that could take anywhere from 10 to 20 days.

Mr. Wells said he has made arrangements with The Edgartown Inn and The Edgartown Public Library to block off a loading zone along North Water Street to create a ferry line queue.

“I’m just expecting that everything’s as quiet this year as it was last year,” Mr. Wells said. “I expect it to be, and this is the best time I have to pull this boat out.”

The idea, according to Mr. Wells, is to get the ferry waiting line up the hill to North Water Street to avoid congestion. “Hopefully, if the line does get up the hill you won’t need a police officer,” Mr. Wells said.

“The only issue that came up last time was the handicap parking space for the library,” Ms. Dolby said. “So what’s the solution?”

In an answer to her own question, Ms. Dolby said she would speak with the library administrators about reserving a handicap spot in the back of the building.

Ms. Dolby also asked Mr. Wells if the ferry would be back online in time for the Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby, begins Sunday, September 15. Mr. Wells said he hopes to have the ferry back in time.

Shellfish regs

In other business, selectmen approved changes to the shellfish regulations intended to verify residency and enforce aquaculture lease boundaries. Edgartown shellfish constable Paul Bagnall told selectmen that the shellfish department is responsible for periodically checking corner buoys on aquaculture leases to verify that plot boundaries are accurate and that all cages, bags, and equipment are within the marked area.

While there will be no first time verbal warning for those in violation of the aquaculture regulations, licence owners who violate them are subject to fines.

Selectmen approved a set of penalties for violations, $100 for the first offense, $500 for the second and possible lease revocation. “I’ll be reasonable about that,” Mr. Bagnall said.

Mr. Bagnall also asked selectmen to tighten the criteria for proof of residency. Shellfishermen must now be listed on the town’s list of taxpayers or hold a driver’s license with an Edgartown address.

Mr. Bagnall also told selectmen that this summer has been the most productive shellfishing season to date.

Solar power

Construction of a solar project in Katama is on target to begin toward the end of September, and the project will be in operation in November or December, Ms. Dolby told selectmen. The project will create electricity for the town while reducing electricity costs. “This will save a considerable amount of money in electricity for town apartments,” Ms. Dolby said.

Selectmen previously signed off on the ambitious three-site utility scale solar energy project in 2011. Town leaders expect the project will generate enough solar electricity to power all town buildings and provide excess power to sell. One of three arrays of solar panels would be planted on about six acres of prime agricultural land, part of the 188-acre, town-owned Katama Farm, currently leased to the nonprofit FARM Institute.