Survey board declares Island Theater dangerous

Next steps could include demolition.

The Island Theater has been declared "dangerous" by an independent Board of Survey. — File photo Stacey Rupolo

An independent board of survey, assembled by Oak Bluffs building inspector Mark Barbadoro, has toured the Island Theater and declared the building “dangerous.”

The board of survey was unanimous in its verbal decision after the inspection tour with Mr. Barbadoro on Wednesday afternoon. “Better than 90 percent of the columns have cracks that are big enough to show daylight. This building is in horrendous condition,” Mr. Barbadoro told The Times.

The board of survey was comprised of Mike McGrath from Falmouth-based civil engineering firm Holmes and McGrath, Oak Bluffs Fire Chief John Rose, and Aquinnah town administrator Adam Wilson, who served as the “disinterested observer” per state law.

Mr. Barbadoro said Ben Hall Jr., co-owner of the building, had told him repairs to the building had been stymied since Mr. Barbadoro declared the building unsafe, for a second time, on Oct. 28, because the declaration kept workers from entering the building, per Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations.

“That’s flat-out wrong.” Mr. Barbadoro said.

Mr. Barbadoro said when he gets the written reports from the three board of survey members, he will take the board’s findings to the selectmen at their next meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 29.

“My first and best hope is that the Halls act with haste and fix it themselves,” he said. “While I’m waiting for that, I’ll go to the selectmen, and see what they want to do. My department doesn’t have the funding to demolish the building, so the town will have to appropriate the money from somewhere.”

Mr. Barbadoro said in the meantime, he is having discussions with contractors to get a rough cost estimate of demolishing the building.

According to state law, the Halls will be legally bound to reimburse the town for the demolition costs, and there are substantial additional penalties possible.

“For the very longest time I’ve been trying to get them to fix it,” Mr. Barbadoro said. “They’re not moving forward. I have to move.”