Tisbury leaders discourage trick-or-treaters

Select board makes key appointments to staff positions and committees.

With several roads under construction in Vineyard Haven, officials say it's another reason to discourage trick-or-treating. - Rich Saltzberg

If you were thinking of coming to Vineyard Haven for Halloween, town leaders have a suggestion: Don’t.

There is no traditional Halloween parade organized by the Vineyard Haven Business Association, Tisbury Town Hall is not holding its open house, and in the William Street neighborhood so popular on Oct. 31, most of the houses will be locked up tight — their candy money going to the Island Food Pantry instead.

“I know that William Street is pretty much shut down,” select board member Jeff Kristal said during the board’s meeting Tuesday night. “So for anyone who wants to come and shop William Street, go door-to-door, there’s going to be a lot of dark lights.”

Christine Redfield, a resident of the neighborhood, confirmed that during the meeting. She said an email went out among neighbors after a story appeared in The Times last week with several William Street neighbors announcing their decision to donate to the Food Pantry instead of handing out treats. “All the neighbors discussed not participating at all this year,” she said. 

Redfield called on the town to be clear that trick-or-treating is being discouraged, and the streets surrounding William Street won’t be closed to accommodate the annual tradition. She said by posting guidance on trick-or-treating, it was as if the town was encouraging it. “This is like Mardi Gras here, I get a thousand trick-or-treaters. There’s no way to social distance,” she said.

Kristal assured her the town is not encouraging trick-or-treaters this year. “We’re not giving it a thumbs-up at all,” he said.

Town administrator Jay Grande said there are other reasons to avoid the area Halloween night. Several streets, including Church, Center, and Norton Road are in various states of construction. Sidewalks aren’t complete, and raised storm drains are a trip hazard, he said.

On the advice of chairman Jim Rogers, the town will post a disclaimer on its website about the state of the roads in downtown Vineyard Haven.


New hires, new/old committees, dredging, and more

Jared Meader, who most recently was the interim facilities manager in Oak Bluffs, was hired as the town’s wastewater superintendent.

Grande said the position has been vacant, but didn’t say why. He said a committee was formed to interview candidates, and Meader, whom he called “well-qualified,” was hired.

Meader lives in Tisbury, and is a member of the fire department. During the Zoom meeting, Meader said he is one of the town firefighters on quarantine after a colleague tested positive for COVID-19. 

“I’m excited about this appointment,” he said. “I was just praying that you guys would pick me because it’s actually where I wanted to be in my hometown. I see a lot of opportunity for growth moving forward as far as our wastewater system, and just trying to figure out the challenges of making that happen.”

Kirk Metell, director of the town’s Department of Public Works, praised Meader for already jumping in, looking for information, and looking at a staffing plan.

Following that appointment, the board had a mysterious discussion that ultimately resulted in hiring Reade Milne as an alternate building commissioner to help fill a gap that’s occurred because building commissioner Ross Seavey cannot currently do inspections.

“I do expect Ross back in the very near future,” Grande said. He noted the town has 45 days to respond to a building permit.

Seavey said there are some inspections that need immediate attention. He is doing some work remotely, but can’t do inspections.

“It’s really not about permit issuance, it’s about inspections,” Seavey said. “Without going into too much detail, we actually have 48 hours to do an inspection [once] it’s been called in, and without going into too much detail, we have an inability to do inspections and we’re already outside of our 48-hour time period.”

Milne, who is Edgartown’s building inspector, said she can do emergency work, but has all she can handle in Edgartown at the moment.

The board ultimately approved Milne, but also talked about setting up some type of mutual aid between Oak Bluffs, Edgartown, and Tisbury for inspection services.

Later, the board approved a seven-member Tisbury Waterways Committee — a committee it had disbanded — and appointed seven people. Their mission is to complete the waterways regulations, which have been years in the making.

Jeff Canha, Greg Martino, Roger Moffat, John Packer, Matthew Hobart, Christopher Scott, and Michael Baptiste were selected out of a field of 11.

Shellfish constable Danielle Ewart told the board that this year’s scallop season is expected to be a short one. She recommended dates for opening that were approved by the board. The dates are as follows:

Nov. 7: Outside ponds and harbor for recreational

Nov. 9: Outside ponds and harbor for commercial

Nov. 14: Lagoon Pond for recreational

Nov. 16: Lagoon Pond for commercial

Dec. 5: Lake Tashmoo for recreational

Dec. 7: Lake Tashmoo for commercial

“Last year we had a pretty good season. We had people fishing until March,” she said. “Usually you don’t see two good seasons back-to-back. Scallops fluctuate.”

Ewart also reported that she has investigated a site for Noah Mayrand to locate an aquaculture site in Lagoon Pond. She identified a five-acre site that doesn’t have shellfish or eelgrass. Mayrand told the board it’s an area he’s willing to try.

Harbormaster John Crocker provided a report on an upcoming dredging project for the Lake Tashmoo Channel. The 10,000 cubic yards of spoils will be put on the town beach, Land Bank beach, and private properties along the shore as far as it goes, Crocker said.

While Kristal asked if it could be used at Little Owen Way and Grove Avenue, Crocker said those sites would be renourished with spoils from future projects in the harbor.

In other business, the select board endorsed a proposal to make Zoom an ongoing way for the public to access government meetings. Grande said the effort is being led by West Tisbury town administrator Jennifer Rand. 

While all three select board members expressed a desire to get back to in-person meetings at Katharine Cornell Theater, they support a “hybrid model” of both in-person and Zoom meetings. Tuesday’s meeting had two screens worth of participants at its height, and a meeting in May about the future of Center Street tennis courts attracted 80 people to the Zoom call.

The board also approved a 25 mph speed limit for Skiff Avenue. The signs have already been put up, according to Grande. Residents of the neighborhood petitioned for the lower speed limit. 

Tisbury will also enter into a memorandum of understanding with Martha’s Vineyard Youth Task Force.