Edgartown approves construction moratorium

Edgartown selectmen, shown here in a 2019 meeting, met Monday and approved a construction moratorium.

Edgartown has joined West Tisbury and Chilmark by instituting a town-wide construction moratorium.

At a selectmen’s meeting, which was live-streamed on Facebook, and cut in and out of service amid poor audio quality and muffled voices, selectmen approved the moratorium. 

The board of health, including some members who attended remotely, also approved the moratorium at the meeting. The moratorium focuses on construction sites.

Selectman Arthur Smadbeck pointed out that the list does not include emergencies in people’s homes. 

“A plumbing emergency or an electrical emergency, call your plumber or contractor,” Smadbeck said. “This is for construction sites.”

No decision was made yet on postponing the annual town meeting, scheduled for April 14, and the town election on April 16, but town administrator James Hgaerty told The Times by phone after the meeting that selectmen would take up a decision at their next meeting, on March 30.

Selectmen also instituted a state of emergency in Edgartown. A state of emergency allows the town to spend in excess of its existing appropriation, meet without complying with open meeting law to address the emergency, postpone town meeting, and other measures.


  1. Ridiculous. People at construction sites are mostly far apart and in the open air. Why is this any more dangerous than going to Stop&Shop? Are the Selectman going to pay everyone’s rent on April 1?

  2. I would guess 70% of all construction workers have no unemployment insurance and little savings. Is this a case of where the remedy is worse than the disease? Now all these unemployed will catch the virus waiting in welfare lines.

  3. public trust– I agree with you about the thin financial margins of construction workers.
    But you can apply for benefits on line, not in line.
    I think it will be interesting to have some proud working people suddenly find themselves in such a situation,that they have to apply for welfare. Perhaps some of them will get an idea of how far something like snap benefits don’t go, and not cheer when a politician calls them lazy freeloaders. And cuts the budget for school lunches, or decides that ketchup on a burger is the only vegetable your kid needs for the day, while offering corporate tax breaks that dwarf the budget of the entire school lunch program.
    Welcome to the club.

  4. There’s a Senate bill that can provide unemployment insurance to those not normally covered:

    “It expands unemployment insurance to contractors, the self-employed, and nonprofit/government employees who are not typically eligible. It revives the “Emergency Unemployment Compensation” program but only for 13 additional weeks on top of states’ standard; that limits the total benefit period for states with 26 week programs to 39 weeks, compared with 99 weeks maximum during the Great Recession.”


    Fingers crossed. And remember, Trump shut down the whole government for something like 30+ weeks, while in a hisssy fit about his damn wall. There’s been a work shut down for much less, and if the idiot in the WH has his way, the island will be back to infecting one another by Easter, anyway.

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