Dredging of Tashmoo delayed

Tisbury selectmen also ponder school project and shellfishing regulations.

Harbormaster John Crocker, right, addresses Tisbury selectmen about various issues, including a delay in dredging Lake Tashmoo.

The dredging of Lake Tashmoo will have to wait until this spring, and possibly next fall, after a bid to do the work came in higher than the money available for the project, Tisbury harbormaster John Crocker told selectmen Tuesday night.

By the time the town received the necessary permits in November, the window to do the project by the Jan. 15 deadline set in the permit was so close that it likely drove up the price, Mr. Crocker said.

In a follow-up interview, Mr. Crocker said the town has $193,000 for the project, but the bid was $275,000.

He has reached out to Barnstable County to see when its dredge might be available, and county officials there have said it could be done in May if the town can get a waiver on its permits.

Mr. Crocker said work on that is in progress, but it’s looking more realistic that the project won’t be done until fall because of issues with migrating birds.

Selectman Tristan Israel said the town should look at hiring an environmental consultant to help apply for permits, which require a myriad a paperwork.

Meanwhile, Mr. Crocker said a project to drive pilings, put in a bulkhead, and install a cofferdam at Lake Street did meet its Jan. 15 deadline of having all in-water work done even though bids were open on Dec. 14. “If you remember weather in that time frame, it was frigid. Those folks worked throughout that weather every day and made that [Jan. 15] milestone,” he said. Parts of that project are continuing, he said.

In his final update to the board, Mr. Crocker said that Vineyard Haven Harbor needs to be dredged.

Chairman Larry Gomez asked if the Steamship Authority would be asked to contribute to the cost of doing that project. Mr. Israel said there is precedent for the SSA to pay for a portion, but the last time — about 20 years ago — it was less than 10 percent of the total cost.

Town administrator Jay Grande suggested a meeting be set up between town officials and SSA general manager Robert Davis.


Different schools of thought

Once again, selectmen expressed concern with the path being taken by the Tisbury School building committee.

Mr. Israel said he doesn’t believe the building committee is doing enough to lower the overall cost of the project. He mentioned talks with Ian Aitchison, a noted architect, who will meet with the board on Feb. 6, along with the school committee and building committee, to discuss ways he says the project could be reduced by as much as 10 to 20 percent without losing key parts of the building if they approached contractors in different ways.

“What fits off-Island doesn’t necessarily fit here,” Mr. Israel said. As for the path being taken by the school building committee, Mr. Israel said he doesn’t support it. “That’s my own position right now,” he said.

He compared the building project to a person purchasing a car — looking to buy a Rolls Royce when it’s a Chevy the town can afford.

Selectman Melinda Loberg, who serves on the building committee, said things have been removed from the project to reduce the price. There is a list of add-ons that will only be done if money becomes available.

Mr. Grande will represent the town at a meeting with the Massachusetts School Building Authority Friday when that state agency, which is providing reimbursement for 41.26 percent of construction costs, reviews the schematic drawings and budget.

According to the building committee’s website, the school project is slated to cost $47 million, with the town’s share at $33.4 million. The town’s share is subject to a town meeting and townwide vote in April.

At a meeting Monday night, the school building committee voted to continue a review of construction management at risk as a possible way to do the project.


Shellfish regulations

Selectmen discussed tweaking the town’s shellfish regulations to shore up the language with shellfish constable Danielle Ewart.

No decisions were made, and a public hearing was scheduled for March 6 to give the town’s attorney time to review the changes, but the tweaks take aim at avoiding a repeat of a hearing held by the committee two weeks ago to consider the suspension of a shellfish license over alleged violations.

Among the changes proposed is the process that would be used to revoke or suspend a shellfish permit. It would happen following a public hearing rather than at the time of the infraction, Ms. Ewart said.

The regulations would also wipe away previous infractions if a shellfisherman has no infractions for a three-year period, she said.

And touching on a bone of contention from that meeting earlier this month, Ms. Ewart said the temperature requirements for harvesting would be in the regulations, as would be the place to find the official temperature.

Ms. Ewart was resistant to a request by Mr. Israel that a flag be flown to make it clear when the temperature is too cold for shellfishing.

“If you’re on a boat, you’re not looking at a website,” he said of the official temperature used by Ms. Ewart.

James Tilton, chairman of the shellfish committee and a fisherman himself, said it’s up to fishermen to pay attention to the weather. “That’s a fisherman’s responsibility to check the temperature,” he said. He said anyone with any doubt could check in with Ms. Ewart before heading out.

The board of selectmen will also consider aquaculture regulations at its March 6 public hearing, though those regulations were not discussed in any detail Tuesday.

Ms. Loberg applauded the effort to put aquaculture regulations in place, because the town’s already been approached, and will likely have interest again in the future.

In other business, selectmen delayed making a decision on price increases requested by Bruno’s Rolloff after Mr. Israel insisted, repeatedly, that he wanted more information from the company on increases in wages and benefits of employees being passed on to the town. He said he could support the need for increases based on prices to haul the trash and recyclables off-Island, but had concerns with the town being asked to meet the company’s obligations to its employees.

Common victualler’s licenses were approved for Copper Wok, La Soffitta, Bobby B’s Seafood and Pizza, Bernie’s Ice Cream, Mocha Mott’s and Woodland Grill. All-alcohol licenses were renewed for Beach Road, Copper Wok, and La Soffitta.

A suggestion that the town might need an entertainment license policy was met with skepticism. Mr. Israel said the town has done fine without one, and former selectman Jeff Kristal said entertainment has been successfully handled through the special permit process before the zoning board.

Beach Road property owner Dorothy Packer was back before the board pleading for selectmen to reject Massachusetts Department of Transportation plans to redesign Beach Road if they include land takings. In previous plans, Ms. Packer’s property is identified as a location for a boardwalk.

Ms. Packer told the board that an original song by Mr. Israel titled “Bonobos” speaks to her. The lyrics include a line that says, “Please save our sacred land.”

“It’s not too late to make the Beach Road plan work for everyone traveling along Beach Road,” she said, also raising objections to land takings for a shared-use path. “It’s not too late to eliminate the extras and to include what we actually need in the best interests of the town of Tisbury.”

After being paid a compliment by Ms. Packer about his song, Mr. Israel joked, “So whatever Dorothy wants now …”