Tisbury puts brakes on taxi regs

Wants to give cab companies time to comment.

Danielle Ewart, left, Tisbury's shellfish constable, receives an award as shellfish officer of the year, from Edgartown's shellfish constable Paul Bagnall. — George Brennan

Tristan Israel is the new chairman of the Tisbury board of selectmen, and Tuesday night’s meeting fit the selectman’s off-the-cuff, scattered style.

There were long periods of discussion interrupted by minutes of inactivity, as the board had scheduled six public hearings between 5:25 and 6:30 pm, but often finished the business on those quickly, delaying items on the agenda that would require more discussion. Public hearings have to start at the advertised time.

During one of those hearings, the board considered new taxi regulations that would bring the town in line with other Island towns, notably Oak Bluffs, but selectmen decided not to take action after Melaney West, owner of Stagecoach Taxi, said she was just seeing the regulations for the first time, and four of the six cab companies from Tisbury were not represented at the hearing.

“I can’t comment on what I think about regulations because I haven’t read them,” she said.

Mike Mszanski, vice president of M.V. Taxi, had hoped to discuss his proposal for a metered system, but despite requesting a public hearing back on Feb. 8, the board said it would listen to his proposal at its May 22 hearing, and then call a public hearing if board members liked the idea.

Mszanski also offered some amendments to the taxi regulations that selectmen took under advisement.

Israel also said the board will take up ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft in a separate agenda item on May 22, in a brainstorming session of how to generate some revenue from those companies, which are regulated by the state.

In other business, selectmen received a report from DPW director Ray Tattersall, who wants to implement a program where town workers pick up people’s leaves with a high-powered piece of town equipment that sucks them up.

Tattersall said residents are now allowed to bring them to the town’s local dropoff, known as the LDO, but then his workers have to haul them to the town’s compost site. Picking up the leaves helps the town skip a step, Tattersall said.

After selectmen raised questions, including the possibility of charging a fee for the service, town administrator Jay Grande suggested waiting until he could get the board some answers before implementing the service.

Meanwhile, the board did unanimously approve Tattersall’s proposal to close the LDO on Tuesdays to free up a DPW employee for other work. The closing will be advertised, and signs will be posted at the LDO, before it goes into effect later this month.

Selectmen also asked Tattersall to bring them some samples of signs for Main Street before making changes to signs there. Tattersall wants to make changes to parking on Main Street, making the areas that are limited to 30 minutes more uniform. Those changes were put on hold.

Shellfish constable Danielle Ewart was presented with her shellfish officer of the year award by Edgartown shellfish constable Paul Bagnall, who is also president of the Massachusetts Shellfish Officers Association, during a brief ceremony.

Earlier, selectmen appointed former MV Times editor Nelson Sigelman as a shellfish assistant.

The board also accepted a donation of $3,000 from Tisbury Waterways for a support person at Lake Tashmoo during the summer months. The employee will hand out informational pamphlets and work with an intern from the Martha’s Vineyard Commission on water quality.

Three traffic officers, Bob Blanchard, Cody Metell, and Savannah Barnes, were appointed to the police department ,and two assistant harbormasters, Robert Decker and Gary Kovack, were appointed as well.

Selectmen authorized Grande to apply for a grant up to $20,000 from the state office of Coastal Zone Management to plan for infrastructure — drainage, outfall pipes, and other needs as they relate to climate change and sea level rise.