Geoffrey Rose has asked the West Tisbury selectmen to permit him to change the location of his registered marijuana dispensary. He told selectmen on Feb. 8 that the shift, from 505 State Road to 90 Doctor Fisher Road, would “better meet his needs.” Mr. Rose has a provisional license, and in order to change his location, he needs a new letter of nonopposition from the selectmen, who must declare the proposed new location is acceptable.
The three-member board of selectmen could not have acted on Mr. Rose’s request last week because Richard Knabel, the chairman, is away and not back till February 22, and Jeffrey “Skipper” Manter, the third selectman, may not vote on the matter, because he has a family member who is an abutter to the proposed new location. Two voting members are needed for a quorum, so Mr. Rose must wait for Mr. Knabel to return.
“What’s another two weeks after four years?” Mr. Rose said, resignedly.
In other business, business that two selectmen could conclude by themselves, the board agreed to remove an April annual town meeting warrant article that would have paid for the purchase and installation of a 20,000-gallon water tank.
“We need an override, is what it boils down to,” town administrator Jennifer Rand said. “And we are $146,640 over the limit.”
Selectmen had tasked Ms. Rand with talking with West Tisbury Fire Chief Manny Estrella to see whether his view was “hard and fast” that the tank had to be in place before construction of the Scotts Grove affordable housing project.
“Manny said that he is comfortable if the affordable housing committee sent a letter saying that Scotts Grove project not be occupied prior to the water tank going in,” Ms. Rand said. “Which means we can put the water tank off until next year’s annual town meeting.”
“As it would happen,” Ms. Rand continued, “the Up-Island Regional School District (UIRSD) warrant article is $146,633 over [the town spending increase allowed by Proposition 2.5], so provided we cut $7 from something, that warrant article, if proposed as an override, would meet our needs.”
Ms. Rand said that this year, the UIRSD spending is a warrant article, but next year it will be in the school budget, making it somewhat “untouchable.”
“If it passes [this year], it would raise our capacity, which would then allow us next year to be in the budget,” Ms. Rand said. Overrides under state law increase the base from which the following year’s budget is calculated against the Prop. 2.5 limit.
Ms. Rand pointed out that if it is voted not to put it on the warrant, then the only way to do it is with a general override, but then almost $150,000 would have to be cut somewhere out of the town budget. “I don’t know how we get to 150 without some dramatic cuts,” Ms. Rand said.
Mr. Manter did not favor that plan. “I am uncomfortable tying this massive debt to an OPEB (other post-employment benefits).”
“We did not feel there was any better way to go than this,” financial team member and town treasurer Kathy Logue said.
Selectmen voted to remove the water tank from the warrant.
Mr. Manter made two cost-reduction proposals that included reducing the discretionary fund from $5,000 to $4,000, which selectman Cynthia Mitchell did not support, and reducing the legal budget from $50,000 to $40,000, which Ms. Mitchell also opposed.
In other business, Vineyard Transit Authority administrator Angela Grant presented to the board about the possibility of replacing its fleet with all-electric busses, which could in some cases be powered by solar-charged batteries.
In December, The Times reported on the electric bus possibility (bit.ly/2electricbus), and last week Ms. Grant also presented to the Edgartown board of selectmen (bit.ly/VTAelectric).
In other news, selectmen reviewed a citizen’s petition to request childcare at town meetings; accepted a donation from the Friends of the Library for a copier and summer reading program; appointed the committee for the re-use of the Old Courthouse Road Building; joined in the Community Development Block Grant with Edgartown; and agreed to participate in White Ribbon Day on March 1, when white ribbons will decorate municipal buildings to raise awareness of gender-based violence.
Resident Harriet Bernstein asked in a letter for a bylaw restricting house size. The matter was tabled, because selectmen want to wait for a similar situation to settle in Chilmark.
“We’re waiting to see if Chilmark gets sued,” Beatrice Phear of the planning board said. Ms. Phear said such a rule conflicts with a state statute that forbids limiting the interior size of a primary residence.