Edgartown selectmen receive thanks by way of special delivery

On Monday night postal officials thanked the town for its efforts to keep the mail flowing, and Holly Bear Lane residents asked for relief.

The new interior of the Edgartown Post Office welcomed customers on June 1. — Rich Saltzberg

A special thank you from Mike Powers, district manager for the United States Post Office, was the first order of business at Monday’s board of selectmen meeting in Edgartown. Mr. Powers thanked the town for its cooperation during the nearly 60-day closure of the Edgartown Post Office, due to water damage that occurred during construction on the apartments above the Post Office. The Post Office reopened May 31.

Mr. Powers told the selectmen that typically postmen are expected to “get through rain, snow, sleet, and hail — and we literally had all of that.” He also thanked Christopher Scott, executive director of the Martha’s Vineyard Preservation Trust, for accommodating the Post Office within the historic Carnegie Library building. Mr. Powers presented the town and Mr. Scott with framed sailing prints by artist Edward Hopper. All of the Island postmasters were on hand for the presentation. Selectman Margaret Serpa told Mr. Powers that his staff were “very accommodating, and deserve credit too.”

Also Monday, new full-time police officer Jake Sylvia was sworn in by longtime town clerk Wanda Williams. Edgartown Police Chief David Rossi recommended Mr. Sylvia: “We’ve all seen him grow up — he worked as harbormaster for four years, five years as a paramedic, with the fire department — we’ve worked with him on the other side of calls.”

Officer Sylvia was previously a special officer with the police department, and will graduate from the Boston Police Academy this week. He was there with several of his fellow officers, his wife Annie, and his young son Ben, who pinned the new badge on to the front of his shirt, with a little help from his father.

In other business, a group of residents who live on Holly Bear Lane presented their concerns about three properties in their neighborhood they think are responsible for continuing zoning violations.

They cited 42 Holly Bear Lane, owned by Peter Bettencourt, who they said is running part of his landscaping business from the location; Chris Chambers, who they said continues to run a business, and also placed tires for sale on the property for a number of months; and Ken Cottrill, who they said hasn’t cleaned up his property at 22 Holly Bear Lane even though he is supposed to be facing fines of $50 per day.

“We’re looking to you as to how this can be resolved,” Melinda Sowrizal said.

Building inspector Leonard Jason didn’t agree with the neighbor’s assessment that Mr. Bettencourt is running a landscaping business from the residential property. “I sat there from 7 to 9, and none of Mr. Bettencourt’s vehicles came in,” Mr. Jason said. He also said Mr. Cottrill has removed two Dumpsters and one car and one boat from his property, and he is in the process of trying to evict a tenant. “Things are being done, they’re just not being done fast enough,” Mr. Jason said.

Neighbors claimed that Mr. Chambers had at one time “six giant tires” for sale on his property.

At the end of the discussion, Mr. Chambers rose from his seat and said, “All the tires are gone, and now I have part of the lot for sale so I can get away from these people.”

The selectmen asked to be updated regularly on the situation by Mr. Jason.

Library parking limited

Dukes County clerk and Edgartown Fourth of July parade marshal Joe Sollitto appeared before the selectmen, representing American Legion Post 186, and asked the town leaders to once again serve as judges at Monday’s Fourth of July parade. He thanked town administrator Pam Dolby and administrative assistant Kristy Rose for their help in organizing the event. “We’re all set for a 5 pm march-off,” Mr. Sollitto said.

In other Fourth of July news, the selectmen voted to extend the bar and restaurant hours for the upcoming holiday weekend. Beginning Friday, July 1, and continuing through Monday, July 4, last call will be at 1 am, with patrons expected to leave the premises by 2 am.

Also on the agenda was a request by Edgartown library officials that signage be put in place to restrict parking hours. The proposed signs were ordered, and will be “put up right away,” according to highway superintendent Stuart Fuller. The signs read: Parking Lot for Library Patrons Only; Four Hour Limit; No Overnight Parking; Tow Away Zone.

Town administrator Pam Dolby said that some people park at the library and then walk into town to go to the restaurants and bars on the weekends, leaving their cars there overnight so they don’t drink and drive home.

“I hate to think they can’t leave their car there on the weekend,” she said. Chief Rossi responded that drivers might be ticketed if they didn’t pick their vehicle up by noon the following day. “They may get ticketed, but they won’t be towed.” The selectmen moved to approve the signage.

There were two shade tree hearings, the first concerning a 25-foot-tall silver maple at 105 Main Street, a property owned by Daniel and Christina Santangelo. The Santangelos requested permission to remove the tree, and Mrs. Santangelo stated at the meeting that neighbors had approached them complaining that the tree was an “eyesore.”

“Is it in that condition because of the construction that went on around it?” asked selectman Michael Donaroma, owner of Donaroma’s Nursery and Landscaping. Mrs. Santangelo stated that the tree was in decline before they purchased the property.

Stuart Fuller, highway department superintendent, recommended that another tree replace the silver maple, especially due to the large-size curb cut now in place at the site. “At least one, perhaps two trees could be planted to soften this curb cut,” he said.

Selectmen voted to continue discussion to the July 11 meeting, allowing time for the homeowners to hear suggestions from Mr. Fuller as to how to replace the tree. Selectmen also approved the removal of a declining tree at 23 Morse Street, with a replacement tree expected to be planted by September.

Ms. Dolby reported to the selectmen at the end of regular business, bringing them good news.

“We were awarded $805,000 in CDBG [Community Development Block Grant] grants for the upcoming year,” she said. Then she asked selectmen to cancel their July 5 meeting, noting that there was “nothing on the agenda,” and she informed them that due to assistant Kristy Rose’s perseverance, the town was finally awarded $29,000 from FEMA for damages from a snowstorm that took place two years ago.

The next scheduled meeting is July 11.