West Tisbury solar array to go on line soon

Agreement with abutters to old police station building is reached.

West Tisbury's solar panel array is poised to begin drawing power from the sun. (Photo by Susie Safford) — Susie Safford

The West Tisbury solar voltaic panel project at the old town dump is nearing completion and is awaiting NSTAR to plug it in, town administrator Jennifer Rand said at the selectmen’s meeting on Wednesday, August 27.

“We are now going to enter a holding pattern waiting for NSTAR,” she said. “It can take as long as NSTAR feels like taking.” Ms. Rand said there is a deadline NSTAR is supposed to meet that she thinks is about 60 days, and she hopes the connection will happen in that time frame.

Selectman Richard Knabel expressed frustration over the length of time it has taken to complete the project. A change in electrical contractors was required after the first contractor hired went out of business.

“Theoretically this should have been on line on July 1,” he said. “So we are losing revenue while they take their time.”

Ms. Rand agreed but said, “It is all moving forward, and it is very exciting.”

In other town business, selectmen agreed unanimously to changes Peter and Beatrice Nessen proposed to an agreement under which the town now maintains a septic system for the old police station, which was built on a lot so small and so close to the Mill Pond, that the septic system was sited on an adjacent residential lot owned by the Nessens with the condition that the lot would only be used for the police station.

Police vacated the small, 1,000 square foot building, their home since 1974, when they moved into a new $2.5 million, 5,600-square-foot headquarters at 454 State Road in North Tisbury, behind the Public Safety Building, in March.

An agreement to change the name of the building from the police station was first on the list.

“Building by the Mill Pond,” suggested chairman Jeffrey “Skipper” Manter, a police sergeant. That name was quickly dismissed by his two associates. No decision on a new name was reached.

The amended agreement includes a requirement to provide an annual report of water flow to insure that flow to the septic system stays below a limit now set at 45 gallons a day, and a reevaluation of the 45 gallon limit to determine if it is a reasonable limit that does not strain the septic or adversely affect the Nessens’ property. The agreement also limits parking on the town-owned lot to three cars.

The selectmen plan to issue a request for proposal (RFP) to rent the old police station after the new agreement is finalized and several other issues are ironed out.

One concern is whether to replace the furnace, another is to decide on the rental conditions. Selectman Cynthia Mitchell said that it is important to establish conditions that are in the best interests of the town. Last month, a committee appointed by the selectmen to study the building’s use recommended that the building be leased to a nonprofit group.

Two soundproofing issues were also on the Wednesday night agenda. Ms. Rand reported that she had received an approximate price of $20,000 to install two-inch-thick sound-damping panels in the town hall to help reduce the level of distracting noise generated in the offices, an expenditure that she said would have to go before the town at town meeting. Selectmen decided to address the issue more thoroughly at the next meeting.

Also sound-related, Ms. Rand said that Animal Health Care had reported that it had completed the installation of soundproofing designed to help reduce the noise of barking dogs in the facility’s kennel adjacent to Martha’s Vineyard Airport. The dog noise had generated complaints from residents of a nearby subdivision who brought their complaints to the selectmen and asked for relief.

The meeting ended with what has become an annual seasonal event. Mr. Manter presented Mr. Knabel, who was unable to attend the Fair for the second straight year, with an Ag Fair tee-shirt he had purchased for his fellow selectman. Mr. Knabel expressed surprise that the shirt was the correct size.