Edgartown selectmen sign off on building-permit fee hike

A public hearing held to solicit comment attracted none.

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Edgartown selectmen voted unanimously to revoke a taxi driver's license after seven violations. — The Martha's Vineyard Times file photo

Edgartown selectmen Monday approved a proposed hike in building-permit fees. In the midst of a busy construction season, not one person attended to speak for or against the increase at a public hearing held for that purpose.

Selectman Margaret Serpa asked building/zoning inspector assistant Akeyah Nunes if she had received any comments regarding the new fees at her office; her response was no. The hearing was closed without public comment, and the increase was approved.

The fees impact new construction, both residential and commercial. Previous flat-rate fees were set at $750 for single-family homes in the 901- to 2,500-square-foot range. Now a building permit for a 2,500-square-foot home will cost $1,850, due to the new 75-cents-per-square-foot formula. The selectmen also agreed to sign an application to the Department of Housing and Community Development for a grant to prepare new Housing Production Plans as part of an Island-wide initiative. The application was provided by Martha’s Vineyard Commission executive director Adam Turner.

The letter of application states that the grant funds would be used to hire JM Goldson Associates, in partnership with RKG Associates, “as consultants to help produce the plans and conduct community presentations, visioning sessions, and other outreach efforts necessary to build local consensus on housing needs and production.” RKG Associates was hired by the town of Falmouth to prepare its housing study, according to the company’s website.

Mr. Turner said in a telephone interview Tuesday that all six Island towns have agreed to sign the grant application. He estimates a six-month process with the consultants, collecting data and holding several meetings, with each town weighing in.

“We’ve had preliminary meetings already,” Mr. Turner said. “We expect the first public meetings to begin in September.”

He noted that Massachusetts law requires that 10 percent of the housing in each town on the Island be affordable.

“We’re asking for $15,000 per town [in the grant],” Mr. Turner said. “All six towns will come up with housing goals and plans.”

Town administrator Pam Dolby reported that the Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission visited local bars and restaurants last Friday. “I haven’t heard any feedback, so I think everything was in compliance,” Ms. Dolby said. She said the commission plans more visits over the summer.

Ms. Dolby also noted that the Edgartown harbormaster told her the harbor was “almost sold out” over the weekend, and that he hasn’t “seen the harbor this busy so early.”

In other news, she informed the selectmen that the town would be receiving another Community Development Block Grant. Although Ms. Dolby was not yet sure of the amount, she said past grants have been close to $1 million.

In other business, the selectmen approved an all-alcohol license for the Square Rigger and a weekday entertainment license for the Right Fork Diner. The diner plans to add live acoustic guitar music, agreeing that the music will not continue past 9 pm.

Selectman Michael Donaroma gave a nod to the high school girls tennis team at the conclusion of the meeting, in particular the doubles team of Victoria Scott and Lizzie Williamson, who won the MIAA State Individual Doubles Championship last Saturday. “Both Edgartown girls,” Mr. Donaroma said. “I think that’s worth mentioning.”