Chilmark selectmen move forward with Squibnocket plan


Chilmark selectmen have initiated negotiations authorized by voters at a Feb. 2 special town meeting to implement a plan to replace the storm-damaged parking lot and the access road to the Squibnocket Farm subdivision, they reported at their regular Tuesday meeting.

Voters authorized the board to negotiate rights to a new stretch of beach, and to acquire two small lots necessary to create new parking and a new access road, and approved up to $750,000 for the two acquisitions.

“Our goal is to get a quick lease executed and have all agreements in place,” said Chairman Bill Rossi. “It is important so everyone can move ahead with some level of confidence.”

Selectmen scheduled an executive session for 11 am on Wednesday, Feb. 4, to discuss the beach negotiation and the lot acquisitions.

“How do you determine the amount of money that you spend?” asked Squibnocket Farm Homeowners Association member Rosalie Hornblower.

“We’ve had a very informal relationship that has worked extremely well,” said selectman Warren Doty. “I don’t know that the informal arrangement will continue for the next 20 years, so I’d like to see if we can come up with a formal arrangement that gives town residents the right to walk along that beach for the next 100 years.”

In other business, Vineyard Transit Authority administrator Angela Grant spoke to selectmen about summer bus routes.

“Last summer the town implemented the Menemsha Sunset Bus, and that worked very well for a first year of service,” Ms. Grant told The Times. “There’s no real issue there other than we need to do a better job collectively of marketing it.”

Selectmen also discussed distribution of individual temporary beach permits to local inns for their guests. The town beach committee is reevaluating that policy, which began in 2011, and which sharply reduced bus ridership.

“Some guests have been coming for 20 years, and they know they are way out in Menemsha and they bring their cars,” said Joel Sheveck of the Beach Plum Inn. “We really depend as an inn for people to be able to get to the beach.”

Selectmen praised all involved in the successful cleanup of the recent snowstorm, and saluted NSTAR for virtually no loss of electricity service.