Aquinnah holds special town meeting Tuesday

Aquinnah will hold a special town meeting Tuesday. — Photo by Nelson Sigelman

With the busy summer months concluded, Aquinnah voters will be asked to attend to civic business at a special town meeting that begins at 7 pm, Tuesday, November 5, at the old town hall.

Voters will be asked to approve more than $135,000 in spending requests. The majority of the 17 articles on the special town meeting warrant are requests to appropriate money from available funds.

The single spending request is tied to the town’s effort to move the Gay Head Lighthouse back from the eroding cliff face. Voters will be asked to purchase an approximately quarter-acre, 17,424-square-foot unbuildable lot that abuts the lighthouse owned by two off-Island residents for the price of $32,000. The lot is assessed at $16,000.

Adam Wilson, town administrator, said the lot is a key component of any lighthouse move and is one of the proposed site locations. Should another site be chosen it would still be beneficial if the town owned the property, Mr. Wilson said.

Following a vote to approve a town purchase of the property, voters will be asked to appropriate $35,000 “for expenses related to the purchase of map 6, lot 23 for recreational purposes related to the continuing use, history, and public access to the Gay Head Lighthouse.” A two-thirds vote is required.

Voters will also be asked to place $40,000 in so-called free cash, money not allocated to a specific fund, into the general stabilization fund.

The fire department will ask voters to spend $20,000 in free cash to purchase four self-contained breathing apparatuses and a pack tracker device.

Town leaders will propose to use existing community preservation revenues for a variety of projects that include: $15,000 for the continuing restoration of the Edwin DeVries Vanderhoop Homestead; $3,000 to add cabinet doors and shelving in kitchen area as well as replace the sink in The Old Schoolhouse; and $5,000 to upgrade and replace all storm windows in The Old Schoolhouse. Voters will also be asked to amend the town’s zoning bylaws by making changes to the 200-foot frontage requirement and the conditions under which the planning board review committee may issue a special permit. Mr. Wilson said the change is needed because the existing bylaw is too restrictive and does not allow for a special permit.

If approved by two-thirds of voters, the planning board plan review committee would have the authority to modify or vary the 200-foot frontage requirement by Special Permit for, among other things, the reconstruction, extension, or alteration of pre- existing, conforming, or nonconforming structures in existence as of May 10, 2011, situated on lots with nonconforming frontage; the addition of new structures, which themselves comply with all other dimensional and density criteria contained in the Zoning By-laws, and receive all other Special permits required by the Zoning By- laws, on lots with nonconforming frontage which have been improved with at least one single family residence as of May 10, 2011; the addition of otherwise conforming single family homes, and permitted accessory structures, on lots where the owner has constructed or installed facilities, which have been previously duly permitted by the governing town board, committee, commission, or official, such as a well, a septic system, or an access road, between June 17, 1999 and May 10, 2011; for the construction of single family residences and related accessory structures on resident homesite lots; for the construction of single family residences and related accessory structures on lots developed under the Compact Siting provisions of town bylaws; and for undeveloped lots with nonconforming frontage, but that have at least 50 feet of frontage, on an existing public or private way as of May 10, 2011. Additional money requests include $5,000 for an engineered landscape site plan for remedial alterations of the Circle walkway to the restrooms;

$2,500 for the fiscal year 2014 interim revaluation of real property; $1,168 for a prior year public restroom repair bill; $1,500 to purchase 3 picnic tables and 3 park benches for the Aquinnah Circle; $600 to purchase an office computer; $7,200 to re-carpet the Town Hall offices and meeting rooms; $2,100 for the shared cost of stakeholder’s meetings between Aquinnah and Chilmark for a bathymetric data analysis and hydrodynamic modeling of Menemsha Pond proposed dredging locations; and $146.45 for library use.