West Tisbury selectmen hear concerns over new light fixtures

Selectmen will decide whether to replace the existing West Tisbury "admiral hat" streetlights (right) with new energy efficient LED fixtures. — Cape Light Compact

Lambert’s Cove resident David Stanwood expressed concern about the planned replacement of the current admiral’s hat light fixtures on the town’s streetlights with modern looking fixtures at Wednesday night’s meeting of the West Tisbury selectmen. He said he prefers the historic look of the old fixtures.

The selectmen voted on April 16 to purchase the 53 streetlights from the previous owner, NSTAR, for one dollar and have contracted with the Cape Light Compact (CLC) to become part of the CLC Municipal LED Street Light Retrofit Project to replace the fixtures with energy efficient light emitting diode (LED) fixtures.

The new fixtures will save the town 70 percent in operating costs, according to CLC program manager Kevin Galligan. CLC estimates that the town’s electrical bill will go from about $5,500 a year to $1,600 – a savings of around $3,900. And it will save approximately $700 in annualized maintenance costs due to the longer life of the LEDs.

Mr. Galligan said the intensity and the coverage area of the new fixtures are adjustable and provide much improved road way lighting. He said the only cost to the town for the replacements would be the expense of police details to manage traffic if they are needed.

There are several types of new fixtures that could be used that would provide the energy savings, Mr. Galligan said, but none that replicate the old style look. He said the old fixtures are not wet-rated, a requirement of new fixtures that insures a longer life.

He said the CLC will respect the wishes of the towns. “We don’t want to put up anything the town does not approve,” he said. “And if the town would like to keep some of the old lights we can do that.” He added that out of the 12,000 fixtures the program has installed to date, including lights in Edgartown, Woods Hole is the only town that has expressed concern about the look of the new lights.

“We do not encourage towns to keep the old lights. They do not light the roads well and they are more costly,” he said. Mr. Galligan said he would be happy to meet with town officials at most anytime to discuss the options. He expects the installation to take place in less than two days sometime in October.

The replacement program is paid for by CLC through its energy efficiency program on behalf of the participating Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard towns.

Selectman Richard Knabel said the fixtures in the historic district will have to be approved by the historic commission before they are replaced.

Also Wednesday, West Tisbury town administrator Jennifer Rand said that construction materials for the town’s solar voltaic project at the old dump were delivered on Tuesday signaling the continuation of a project that was delayed when the solar panel’s previous contractor went out of business.

West Tisbury selectmen approved 85 appointments to various town committees and jobs at their weekly meeting on Wednesday. Selectman Jeffrey “Skipper” Manter, a sergeant on the West Tisbury police force abstained on the police appointments. All appointments were approved unanimously.

A full list of appointments can be found here.