Restrictions on Yellow House move project forward

Sheriff’s Meadow looks to sell land in Katama at Monday’s selectmen meeting.

Edgartown selectmen discuss restrictions on the Yellow House. - Brian Dowd

Edgartown selectmen signed off on two separate conservation and historic restrictions for the Yellow House at the board’s meeting Monday.

The Yellow House, which the town took by eminent domain, is being leased and renovated by Christopher Celeste and his daughter Julia Celeste, who are operating as Summer & Main LLC.

The dual restrictions are required for the front portion of the property, which was purchased with Community Preservation Act funds. The back portion, which includes the lawn and parking lot, were purchased with taxpayer money through a town meeting vote.

The conservation restriction is a contract between the town and the Vineyard Conservation Society designed to protect the property and tailor its future uses and development.

The historic preservation restriction is a similar legal agreement that requires the property to maintain its historic and cultural significance, and restricts demolition or alterations of the building.

Town selectmen were pleased after signing off on the restrictions, which move the project forward and allow for construction to begin.

“This has been a lot of work, taken a lot of time, but now we’re here,” selectman Mike Donaroma said. “We’re going to think long and hard before we do another RFP,” he joked.

In other business, Adam Moore, executive director of the Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation, asked selectmen to move a conservation restriction on a Sheriff’s Meadow property on Navy Way in Katama so it can be sold to abutters Susan and Ray Drop. Sheriff’s Meadow acquired the half-acre lot in 1984 from Eleanor Akers.

The Drops will maintain the conservation restriction, allowing the property to stay undeveloped.

Sheriff’s Meadow is selling the property because a propane tank was found on the land after an accreditation survey. Rather than having the Drops remove the tank, Sheriff’s Meadow said they would sell the land to the Drops with a restriction that it could not be developed. If sold, the property will be put back on the town’s tax rolls.

The property has to be kept in a natural state, but the Drops are allowed to cut back some vegetation to maintain views. Sheriff’s Meadow will continue to monitor the property once a year and file a report.

The selectmen agreed to have town counsel Ron Rappaport review the requirements of the sale before they approve it. A decision is expected to be made at the next selectmen meeting.

Ron Kelly of Advanced Solar Products asked selectmen to consider installing solar panels at the Edgartown landfill through the Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) program.

SMART is a declining tariff program that provides incentive for towns to build solar panels.

Kelly identified three areas at the landfill that would be prime locations to install solar panels.

The selectmen said they were open to the idea, but would like to take it under advisement for further review.