Aquinnah voters agree to buy properties near Gay Head Lighthouse

The town of Aquinnah will take ownership of Gay Head Light. — Photo by Michael Cummo

By the narrowest of margins, Aquinnah special town meeting voters last Thursday approved the purchase of two parcels of land near the site where the Gay Head Lighthouse is on track to be moved this spring.

The two small properties, at 9 and 13 Aquinnah Circle, would be less than 100 feet from the historic lighthouse, once it is moved to its new location.

The vote, taken by paper ballot, was 29 in favor of approving $590,000 for purchase of the properties and closing costs, 12 against, and 1 abstention. Because the measure involved borrowing money, approval of two-thirds of the voters present, or 28 voters, was required. The measure passed the two-thirds threshold by one vote.

Future use of the properties includes community housing, a site for a new police station, or open space that could become part of the planned park space surrounding the lighthouse.

Also at the special town meeting, voters unanimously approved a measure to allow the Martha’s Vineyard Refuse Disposal and Resource Recovery District to borrow $2.5 million. This money would be used to restructure the traffic flow and residential drop-off at the Edgartown transfer station.

Aquinnah would be assessed 3 percent of the costs, or $75,000 over the life of the bond.

Chilmark was the first of four towns in the district to vote in favor on the project at a special town meeting on October 20. Edgartown and West Tisbury will vote in the spring. All four towns must vote in favor of this project at their respective special town meetings. (Oak Bluffs and Tisbury use a separate refuse transfer station.)

Voters also approved a recommendation from the community preservation committee to authorize $5,000 for repair of a stone wall behind town hall, and $20,000 for repairs to the old parsonage building on Church Street, which the town uses for affordable housing.