Aquinnah special approves Gay Head Lighthouse land purchase

The view from the light. — File photo by Steve Myrick

Aquinnah voters got down to business eagerly and efficiently Tuesday night. They easily approved two articles tied to the town’s effort to move the Gay Head Lighthouse back from the eroding cliff face. And they sped through 18 articles on a special town meeting warrant in a little more than one hour. A total of 44 voters of the town’s 373 voters, seven more than needed for a quorum, participated.

Voters agreed to buy an unbuildable lot of approximately 17,424-square feet abutting the lighthouse, now owned by two off-Island residents, for $32,000. The lot is assessed at $16,000. There were only two voters in opposition. The primary objection was the negotiated sale price for the parcel of land. Both opponents said the price was too high and should be renegotiated.

In advance of the vote, Darryl Bazzy and Lenny Butler spoke briefly about the benefits of the town purchase, using an enlarged aerial photo of the lighthouse circle to highlight the area under question.

“I’ve never seen a half-acre lot for sale in Aquinnah for $32,000,” Mr. Bazzy said.

Mr. Butler, a member of the committee working to save the lighthouse, added, “If we don’t buy this property, we won’t move the lighthouse.”

Moderator Mike Hebert quickly moved to a vote and the meeting moved on to other matters. Voters approved all the remaining articles but one.

On the advice of town counsel, selectmen withdrew a request to amend the town’s zoning bylaws to change the 200-foot frontage requirement and the conditions under which the planning board review committee may issue a special permit.