You may be able to raise a glass of beer or wine to toast an encore by John Fogerty or Phil Lesh at Beach Road Weekend after all, but it’s not a done deal.
The Tisbury board of selectmen has been wrestling with the issue of whether it can allow a beer and wine permit for the three-day festival August 9-11 at Veterans Memorial Park. On Tuesday, the board voted unanimously to approve the proposal by promoter Adam Epstein, CEO of Innovation Arts & Entertainment, in principle, and to set a public hearing at the earliest convenience.
Epstein said the proposal is to serve beer and wine, but with wristbands that will limit the number of drinks an individual can purchase. And following a rule that’s part of Tisbury’s unique alcohol legislation, a customer will have to purchase food to go with that drink, Epstein told the board.
“We want to discourage people from consuming beforehand and trying to sneak alcohol in,” Epstein said. “This way we can actually control consumption, ensuring that at least onsite that we can limit people from trying to bring alcohol in and then controlling it on the site itself.”
MacAleer Schilcher, a town resident, urged selectmen to approve a license for the festival, saying it could make or break the concert financially. He suggested selectmen make it a requirement that everyone be certified to safely serve alcohol, known as TIPS certification.
“This is the coolest thing Vineyard Haven has ever done besides the street fair,” Schilcher said. “As a resident of Vineyard Haven, I’m really excited about this. It would be a big mistake not to have alcohol.”
No date has been set for the public hearing, a requirement of the licensing process, but it could come as early as next Tuesday, town administrator Jay Grande said.
Looking at you, VTA
Selectmen reappointed Elaine Miller to serve as the town’s representative to the Vineyard Transit Authority board with a packed house in attendance, many of them striking VTA bus drivers who applauded wildly when Miller was approved.
The appointment came after Miller explained in detail to the board that the VTA board meets irregularly, and rarely has a quorum.
“We have not been as engaged as we need to be as a board, and that has bothered me,” Miller said. From her perspective, she said that has not allowed her to fulfill her responsibilities on the VTA board. She said she has tried unsuccessfully to call board meetings, but she will continue to try and get the board to participate in what’s happening. “Again, this is my point of view from being on several boards; I don’t think we’re doing our job.”
But it was clear Miller had the support of the audience. Katharine Kavanagh, a VTA bus driver, asked to speak on her behalf, calling her a “diligent and thoughtful” member of the board.
“We’re looking for board members who take it as seriously as she does,” Kavanagh said. “She is an amazing board member, really representing our town well.”
Selectman Jim Rogers and selectman Jeff Kristal thanked Miller for her willingness to serve. Rogers urged her to lean on the board if other town representatives aren’t showing up, saying Tisbury selectmen would let their colleagues in other towns know about it. “They would want to know that,” he said.
Her appointment comes one day after Louis Paciello, Edgartown’s representative on the VTA board, resigned.
Tisbury selectmen had hoped to appoint VTA board members for Americans with Disabilities (ADA) and a rider representative, but found out it was not the town’s turn to make those appointments. According to Alexandra Kral, an executive assistant to the board of selectmen, towns appoint those positions on a rotating basis by alphabetical order. This year it’s Edgartown’s turn to approve the ADA representative, and Chilmark is up for a rider representative, she said.
Tisbury was supposed to appoint one of the members in 2017, but never received the letter because it was mailed to the wrong address.
Selectmen voted unanimously to send the other Island towns a letter asking if they intend to appoint those positions, which have apparently gone unfilled, leading to difficulty reaching a quorum at the VTA meetings. If they get the go-ahead, Tisbury is prepared to fill one or both of the positions, selectmen chair Melinda Loberg said.
Selectmen made a handful of other appointments to town positions, including David Ferraguzzi and Victor Capoccia to the Community Preservation committee (CPC). Rogers had expressed some concerns with the direction of the CPC at the last selectmen’s meeting, and explained to the two men that he would like to see more frequent reports to the board of selectmen. Rogers said there’s a sentiment in town that the CPC is spending too much on affordable housing and not enough on open space/recreation and historic preservation. “It’s not free money. If you look at your tax bill, the town of Tisbury taxpayers fund CPC,” he said.
Ferraguzzi said even with the state only providing a 30 percent match (it used to be 100 percent), Community Preservation funds are still a good return on investment.
New assistant chief, new policies, new committee
Selectmen unanimously supported the appointment of Gregory LeLand as the town’s first full-time assistant fire chief, a position that should take some of the burden off Fire Chief John Schilling.
LeLand was already serving as the part-time assistant fire chief, a position he was appointed to last July. LeLand’s family was on hand as Schilling reported on his extensive training, and also described his pedigree following in the footsteps of his father, who served on the fire department. “He’s committed himself to a career path to achieve rank he has today, and hopefully transition further beyond that in the future,” Schilling said.
The appointment was praised by Kristal. “This is great. This is the next step. I really like this appointment,” he said.
Switching public safety departments, selectmen approved a new police recruitment policy to create what Police Chief Mark Saloio called a “roadmap” for department hires and promotions. The previous practice was “anything but consistent,” he said.
The department will now pay for a recruit’s police academy tuition, and may pay for lodging as well. Selectmen approved the policy on the condition that Saloio check with the town’s attorney to see if a requirement could be put in that a new hire stay for a certain period of time or be forced to reimburse the town.
Loberg, a former EMT, pointed out that EMTs are required to commit to the town after the town pays for training. She said she wants to avoid situations where the town pays for an officer’s training and then that officer goes to work for another town.
Rogers said he’d like to make sure that the reimbursement for lodging is consistent across town departments.
Kristal called it a minimal expense that shows an investment in an employee. “This is a stress they don’t need going through academy,” he said of housing.
Saloio pointed out that a new police academy at Joint Base Cape Cod would have barracks-style housing at a reduced cost.
Switching gears again, selectmen talked about the mission statement for a new natural resources committee that would merge several waterways and harbor management committees under one umbrella, with the goal of hiring a natural resources officer for the town.
Lynne Fraker, a commercial fishing captain, and James Tilton, chairman of the town’s shellfish committee, both expressed concerns about the statement being “too broad.”
Rogers said mission statements are intentionally broad, and it would be up to the committee to set goals and objectives to narrow its focus.
Jeffrey Canha, another fisherman, praised the idea of a natural resources officer, but said the statement required some tweaks.
Grande will seek feedback over the next week, and will ask the board of selectmen to approve it next Tuesday.
In other business, selectmen authorized Grande to seek a grant for the replacement of sidewalks, and possibly the entire bridge on Lagoon Pond Road, but not before Rogers questioned the process. The town needs to take a more “global look” at road repairs, he said.
Selectmen approved a change of ownership for Peter Smith at Life at Humphreys. The board also approved a similar change of ownership for the Net Result to Michael Santoro, an Oak Bluffs selectman. The board had to wait to hold the public hearing while Santoro finished up business at his own meeting in O.B.
In a lighter moment, selectmen were entertained before approving two busker’s licenses with selections from Island Theatre Workshop’s upcoming performances of “Frozen” and “Once Upon a Mattress.” Dawna Hammers, a Woods Hole resident who received the other permit, sang, “Into the Mystic.”
Santoro politely declined a request that he sing for his license change.