Edgartown takes up illegal dumping at town landings


Town administrator Pamela Dolby told Edgartown selectmen Monday about illegal dumping that has become common at various town landings.

“We met this morning with the harbormaster,  the chief of police, marine biologist, and health agent to discuss all of the town landings,” Ms. Dolby said. “We started with Sengekontacket.”

Also included were the Katama landing, Wilson’s landing, Eel Pond landing, Crab Creek landing and Collins Beach.

Ms. Dolby said highway superintendent Stewart Fuller had recently cleaned up syringes that had been left at Sengekontacket. Ms. Dolby also said he had discovered an abandoned boat and trailer that needed to be removed. “There’s a boat still there. We’re going to send a letter out to that individual.”

Refuse and abandoned boats have proven problematic at several of the town’s landing areas, Ms. Dolby said.  “We decided we need to make a concerted effort to check on the landings more often.”

Ms. Dolby proposed adding signage cautioning against abandoning boats and refuse should help, at least in part, to alleviate the problem.

Abandoned boats have become an increasing headache for harbormaster Charlie Blair over the last few years.  “Abandoned boats have been a problem,” he said. “I took them to the depot, and it cost $11,000 to dispose of a three-year supply of boats being left here. I don’t have numbers, and we can’t find the rightful owners, but it’s become a real problem.”

Mr. Blair asked selectmen if the disposal of the abandoned boats could be added into the harbormaster’s budget in the future. “Once somebody starts dumping, it’s very easy for somebody else to start dumping there,” he said. “It’s like a disease.”

Ms. Dolby also pointed to an increase in the number of deer carcasses ending up at the town landings this year.

Edgartown shellfish constable Paul Bagnell said the deer carcasses should be addressed on an Island-wide level.  “To be fair to the hunters, there used to be a bury pit, if I remember correctly,” he said. “We used to have a place in the State Forest that was part of the weigh-in process, but I don’t think that Edgartown should just necessarily take on the responsibility for everybody’s deer, because there’s a lot that gets shot across the Island, and it is a real problem.”

Ms. Dolby asked for selectmen’s financial support in maintaining the landings.  “We’re going to need some money to do some of this cleanup, because we’re going to need to get dumpsters,” she said. “We’re going to sit down and figure this out, and we’d like your support going to the finance committee to get some money and try and keep track of these people who dump their boats.”

Chappy isn’t happy (with cell service)

In other business Monday, Edgartown selectmen continued their conversation with members of the Chappaquiddick Wireless Committee who continue their struggle to get cell coverage on Chappy.

Since meeting last Monday, selectmen agreed to a one-week extension as the committee continues their search for service providers.

The committee previously told selectmen that a DAS (distributed antenna system) would dramatically improve mobile phone coverage on Chappaquiddick.

Committee member Georgiana Greenough said over the last week, she was successful in contacting three wireless providers.

“I spent a few hours Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday and got these guys on the phone,” Ms.Greenough said. “We got responses and they all said it is way too expensive for them to do a DAS system, but they said they would be interested in discussing a one-on-one relationship with us, if we decided to come up with a partnering type of relationship.”

The town awarded a joint contract in June 2012 to Grain Communications and Broadband Service Group to build and manage the system, which relies on small antennas set on poles, but the developers have been unable to attract any mobile carriers to sign up.

“I did not mention finances,” Ms. Greenough said. “They asked about capital expenditure and asked what we could offer, and I said not at this time but we could look into grants, and we could look into donations and other areas of financing if that would help.”

Ms. Greenough asked selectmen if she could send out a letter to the service providers outlining the committee’s intention to create a partnership between them and the town.

Selectman Margaret Serpa asked the committee how this letter will change what has already been done.

“We’re actually getting information and they’re willing to give us numbers, which we’ve never had before,” Ms. Greenough said.

Selectman Arthur Smadbeck asked for further clarification. “There seems to be two parts to this,” he said. “You have the DAS system, but it’s not going to work unless Verizon and/or AT&T did something with it, so wouldn’t we also want a commitment from one of those companies before we go through the trouble of doing this?”

“I want to know what they would build it for, if they would do it. That’s the commitment I’m looking for from them,” Ms. Greenough said.

Selectmen agreed to continue the conversation on Monday, March 24.

In other business Monday, selectmen approved a request from John Roberts to move a brick oven at Lattanzi’s restaurant to 11 North restaurant.

Mr. Roberts is one of the owners of the buildings occupied by the two restaurants. “We decided it’s kind of an iconic piece, and we want to move it to the 11 North building,” Mr. Roberts said.

The oven weighs about 5,000 pounds and will require a crane to lift it.

Edgartown police chief Tony Bettencourt, also present Monday, said the move should be done quickly and is fairly straight forward.

“It’s not going to take long at all,” Mr. Bettencourt said. The oven will be moved March 19.

In other action, selectmen voted to appoint Scott Ellis as a new interim member of the wastewater commission .