Parking signs irk Oak Bluffs residents

Selectmen say signage will clarify where parking is.

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Oak Bluffs selectmen voted to place signage clarifying parking on Nantucket Avenue. — Brian Dowd

Oak Bluffs selectmen approved a recommendation from the Roads and Byways Committee to install signage on Nantucket Avenue.

The committee received a request to clarify signage around Dennis Alley/Waban Park, and then voted to suggest that a sign be placed at the start of Nantucket Avenue near Naushon Avenue that states “parking this side only,” referring to the right-hand side of the street, and another sign that states “no commercial vehicles 2 am-8 am.”

Several residents in the area voiced their concern about the signage. 

“I don’t accept the fact that no one knows there’s parking on that road. This just does not smell right to me,” John Regan said.

“I disagree with putting the sign up at the end of the street that says ‘parking allowed on this side.’ I don’t know why it has to be our street and no one else is getting a sign, and I think that’s unfair and I think it’s wrong,” Harriet Smith said.

Selectmen clarified that parking has been allowed on the street, but it hasn’t been clear to people other than residents.

“It doesn’t sound like there’s any dispute that the parking exists, that the parking is legal, et cetera, et cetera,” selectman Brian Packish said. “There just seems to be an objection to people knowing completely the parking exists. For me, that’s why I support the sign is that people knowing the parking exists, it’s town property.”

Selectman Ryan Ruley agreed. 

“I don’t know if there’s a fear that parking will become more, but currently we allow parking there. It’s a public way and it’s allowed. All we’re doing is clarifying and making it very clear as to where you can park.”

The signs were approved 3-1, with selectman Jason Balboni voting no. Gail Barmakian recused herself from discussion due to her mother owning a part of a home on Nantucket Avenue.

In other business, selectmen voted 3-2 to deny Paul Hartel from continuing construction at his Circuit Avenue business until the fall.

Hartel is the owner of 35 Circuit Ave., formerly the Captain’s Club. Hartel has been renovating the building, but due to the coronavirus pandemic, the project has been delayed. At a June 23 meeting, selectmen gave Hartel until June 30 to continue construction. At Tuesday’s meeting, a motion to allow Hartel two more weeks to work was denied. Barmakian said since there had been no complaints, she thought it would be OK to allow two more weeks. Selectmen Jason Balboni, Brian Packish, and Ryan Ruley voted no, and selectmen Greg Coogan and Barmkian voted yes.

“The reason why I’m voting no is because there’s 60 days worth of work to be done,” Packish said, adding that he didn’t see the need for it to impact others in the downtown area during the summer season.

Hartel will be able to resume construction Sept. 15.

Sarah Omer, co-owner of Red Cat Kitchen, received selectmen approval to open Tangerine, a new retail business at 42 Circuit Ave. The store will sell Island-made art, jewelry, and other items. 

Selectmen appointed Lisa Merritt as interim wastewater facilities manager, due to the retirement of Jim Monteith.