Chilmark will consider beer and wine, and study school funding

Summary of housing production plan: Lots yet to be done

James Malkin and Bill Rossi.

Chilmark selectmen will ask that a member of the town finance committees (FinCom) of each of the three up-Island towns, along with an accountant and a selectman from each town, join an Up-Island Regional School District (UIRSD) committee to review the region’s school cost allocation formula. A selectmen’s committee in West Tisbury has recommended that Chilmark shoulder all the costs for its school. The selectmen have deferred consideration until current budget planning for the fiscal 2018 year is complete and ready for town meeting action.

The Chilmark planning board’s Peter Cook summarized affordable housing production plan ideas developed by consultants Jennifer M. Goldson of JM Goldson Community Preservation and Planning and Judi Barrett of RKG Associates.

“This is very much in process, but I think we are very pleased with the amount of information that we have gotten, and I think we have a template to work with,” Mr. Cook said.

He said it is “quite valuable” to come up with strategies for producing a housing plan “of some kind” for Chilmark. The housing production plan that the consultants envision requires “a lot of observances of regulations that Chilmark is unlikely to be able to meet without significant changes in the aspect of the town,” Mr. Cook said, although 11 of the consultants’ suggestions may be useful. They need to be compared with what the town already does to increase affordable housing, he added.

There is a group of suggested strategies, he said, that require special legislation that would add a time-consuming component, and committee members will have to see if the town could even ever meet those standards.

Plus, there are proposed strategies the town could probably address in the “medium term,” though they would require various adjustments.

The planning board will meet with the town housing committee next week, and Mr. Cook pointed out that the consultants’ report has a great deal of information related to demographics that will be useful as the planning board undertakes its master plan project for the town.

“We have a lot of work to do, and I’m really happy that you guys feel there is a lot of information here that can be useful,” selectman Bill Rossi said. “I don’t think Chilmark wants to fit in the state model for affordable housing — it just doesn’t work here. We may lose some benefits because of it, but I don’t think we worry too much about it. The way I see it, Chilmark is very much in favor of affordable housing, and it does a lot for affordable housing — I’m just not sure we’re anxious to fit the model.”

“I have a problem with consultants coming in and trying to make your information fit their template,” selectman James Malkin said. Mr. Malkin said he will be looking for recommendations from the involved committees.

Selectmen received 13 applications for the police chief position, and the committee trimmed the field to five. They will be interviewed in executive session, and three finalists will be interviewed in open session at the March 7 selectmen’s meeting.

Mr. Rossi will participate in the Meals on Wheels program Wednesday, March 22, which delivers meals to the town’s elderly.

Mary Beth Grady of Chilmark Chocolates presented an aerial map showing how her committee envisions making paths in the town center safer.

Mr. Malkin updated selectmen on the state of the Menemsha dredge project. “There’s a lot of stuff sitting in the pond. I have no information when it will move. It has been another lovely year with that contractor,” Mr. Malkin said.

“Sort of like déjà vu,” Mr. Rossi said.

Selectmen voted to forbid town department heads to have charge of their own personnel files. This includes police, fire, and library departments. These files will now be kept at town hall.

A petition to put beer and wine back on the annual meeting warrant asks selectmen to issue “no more than five annual or seasonal licenses for the sale of wine and malt beverages” to be drunk on the premises of restaurants with fewer than 50 seats. The moderator will be asked to put this item on early in the agenda, so the largely older townspeople do not have to wait to the end of the meeting to hear it.