Chilmark endorses continued construction regulations

Officials say all Island boards of health in favor of extending phase one.

Selectman Bill Rossi and the rest of the Chilmark board voted to extend the phase one building guidelines through May 11.

Chilmark selectmen endorsed a continuation of the phase one construction guidelines through May 11, at which point the Island will enter phase 1.5.

According to chair of the Chilmark board of health, Katie Carroll, the working group that is guiding the Island in its multi-step approach back to relatively normal construction site protocols is recommending that all Island towns continue phase one, then enter phase 1.5, then phase two.

Carroll said phase one is set to expire on May 4, but the working group and Island towns will recommend that the phase be continued through May 11. 

After May 11, phase 1.5 will be adopted, and five workers will be allowed at each jobsite.

On May 18 — the same day Gov. Charlie Baker extended the stay-at-home advisory to — phase two will go into effect, at which point 10 workers will be allowed at one time on individual sites.

It is yet to be determined what health and safety measures workers will be required to maintain after that point.

“It does seem that all the Island boards of health are in favor of continuing phase one. We think phase one hasn’t been long enough to fully implement the proper guidance over jobsite management with these new regulations,” Carroll said.

Selectmen chair Warren Doty said he is willing to follow the lead of the boards of health and the working group, and said he is pleased to see that towns have proven they can not only come up with solid guidelines, but enforce them effectively.

“We have visited construction sites with staff and made sure our rules are being followed,” Doty said.

Board of health agent Matt Poole and other board of health members have been working hard to lead the working group, Doty said, and he trusts their guidance on this matter.

Poole told The Times in an email that the towns are all considering modifying and extending their current stay-at-home orders to extend out to May 18. “The one change being considered is removing the existing prohibition of food service from opening. The extensions may provide a provision for getting seasonal food service underway under modified service,” Poole said.

Selectman Bill Rossi said a large part of the decisions Chilmark makes will be contingent on the down-Island towns’ choices.

“Senator [Julian] Cyr really wants us to have a unified agreement with all the towns, and I completely agree,” Rossi said.

Selectman Jim Malkin said this is a public health issue that goes beyond just construction sites, and noted his concerns for the busy months of July and August.

“I recognize what Cyr and Fernandes said. I have been hearing a lot about both sides of this argument, particularly in light of the Steamship Authority,” Malkin said. “I continue to be very worried about things happening in July or August and people potentially bringing disease with them unknowingly, asymptomatically.”

Malkin said there will be an ever-present need to assist the board of health in securing the public safety of beaches, parks, parking lots, and other public spaces. 

In other business, Chilmark is looking at having its town meeting and town elections outside near the Chilmark Community Center. Town meeting is slated to occur on June 8 and town elections on June 10. 

Town administrator Tim Carroll said he met with town counsel to discuss the possibility of having an outdoor meeting venue that can hold up to 125 people with comfortable social distancing.

He said the town can either look into getting a tent, or can postpone the meeting if there is inclement weather. Town clerk Jennifer Christy said the town is suggesting that as many citizens as possible submit their ballots for town elections through the mail via early voting, in order to limit exposure.


  1. Considering there has not been a construction ban in the rest of the state what data do we have that relates to the increased covid cases that are directly related to construction activities elsewhere?

    • No science backs up these construction bans. Just a guess and fear of imported (day tripper) labor.

Comments are closed.