Oak Bluffs slows it down

All thickly settled roads in town to have lowered speed limit.


Oak Bluffs selectmen tackled a full agenda Tuesday night, issuing permits, approving projects, and hearing updates.

Selectmen approved a request from the roads and byways committee to turn all thickly settled roads in the town to 25 mph zones, decreased from 30 mph. A thickly settled road is defined as a road with houses situated at an average of less than 200 feet from each other. The request was in response to numerous complaints about speeding in residential areas.

While the change is only a decrease of 5 mph, the road and byways committee believed it would significantly reduce complaints on several town roads.

Adam Turner, the executive director of the Martha’s Vineyard commission, met with selectmen to give an update on projects the MVC is currently involved in. Turner highlighted projects the MVC has approved for the town, such as the East Chop bluffs restoration and Lagoon Ridge. The MVC is also in talks with the Rockefeller Foundation to get a grant to study and improve water drainage.

In other business, selectmen approved a special permit request for MV Paddle Co., a new ecotourism company that offers guided paddleboard rides around the Island led by owner Anna Morin, to store its paddleboards.

Oak Bluffs Land and Wharf Co. owner Caleb Caldwell was granted an annual business license by selectmen to operate bus tours. Selectmen were waiting for the commission to act on the company’s license. Last summer there was some controversy over bus tours, but the board has imposed some new regulations aimed at making things more orderly for the companies that offer tours to visitors.

During the public comment portion of the meeting, Ewell Hopkins, chairman of the town’s planning board, addressed selectmen about the fence being put up by the Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank Commission at Trade Wind field, also known as Tradewinds in the vernacular.

The Land Bank has put up metal posts, and plans to connect them with wire mesh fencing. Hopkins asked the Land Bank to not put the wire mesh up until the trail system has been completed. He said he has not received an answer yet, but he told selectmen to be aware no fence is allowed to be put up until the trail system is finished, and if they are approached by the Land Bank, to not make any decisions concerning the property until the trail system is finished.

“What you’ll see very clearly is the new fence rebounds the pedestrian into a series of new paths. The new paths have not been created yet. If [the Land Bank] creates the new fence and herds people out of the center of the property into what is currently not paths, people will literally be in tick-infested undergrowth and wooded areas,” Hopkins said.

The comment was made during the public comment section, so was not open for discussion, but selectman Brian Packish said he was aware of the issue.