In a surprising move, the Edgartown board of selectmen unanimously appointed Ted Rosbeck to the Martha’s Vineyard Commission Monday evening.
Selectmen chose Rosbeck, owner of Island Pools and Spas, over longtime Edgartown representative and Carroll & Vincent Real Estate owner James Joyce, who has served on the commission since 2010. Both Rosbeck and Joyce sent letters to selectmen seeking their appointment to the Island planning agency.
Selectman Michael Donaroma made the motion to appoint Rosbeck, adding that his founding membership in the Martha’s Vineyard Builders Association (MVBA) and his interest in the town made him a good fit.
The MVBA represents builders, tradespeople, and contractors on the Island. In October, the group voiced opposition to proposed changes to the commission’s development of regional impact (DRI) checklist that would allow the commission more purview over Island development.
“He has shown a lot of interest in the town bylaws through the planning board, and a lot of interest in the MVC with what’s going on up there,” Donaroma said. “I think he would be helpful for the town of Edgartown.”
Selectman Margaret Serpa also welcomed the change in representation. She said Joyce has served the town well, but someone with new talents would be good for the commission.
Selectman Arthur Smadbeck also thanked Joyce, who did not attend the meeting, for his service to the town. “It’s not often we get other people interested in some of these appointments,” Smadbeck said. “It’s probably good to have somebody new with some builder’s experience, and Ted’s certainly been a wonderful contributing member to our community, and very helpful in many other ways.”
Speaking to The Times by phone Tuesday, Joyce said 10 years goes by quick. “New voices are good. I think Ted will do a good job,” Joyce said. “Edgartown is my home, and I’m not going anywhere. I’m still going to be following and be involved in the Island.”
Rosbeck’s appointment is for one year. Donaroma encouraged both Joyce and Rosbeck to put their names in the hat for the appointment when it comes up next year.
The commission is made up of 21 commissioners — six appointed on an annual basis by each town’s selectmen, one appointed on an annual basis by the Dukes County Commission, nine elected in Island-wide elections every two years, and five appointed by the governor, only one of whom has the power to vote on DRIs and districts of critical planning concern (DCPCs).
Speaking to The Times by phone Monday night, Rosbeck said he’s always been interested in the regulatory process on the Island. “I’ve even spent a lot of time with [Joyce], and he’s done a great job with the town, and I just have a lot of interest in being involved,” Rosbeck said.
While not a builder directly, Rosbeck said between himself, his brother, and his father, he has a good background on development and construction on the Island, both large and small: “To be able to help bring that perspective, I think it’s helpful to have all kinds of different views on the commission … especially as we get into the DRI checklist. I have a lot of experience doing that.”
Rosbeck’s appointment is the latest in a series of shakeups at the commission. In November, Island voters elected newcomers Jeff Agnoli of Edgartown and Jay Grossman of Chilmark, replacing former elected members Richard Toole of Oak Bluffs and Rob Doyle of Chilmark, both of whom did not run for reelection.
In Oak Bluffs, selectmen also made a surprise switch by sidelining longtime member and selectmen Gail Barmakian, and appointing selectman Brian Packish.
In Tisbury, commissioners Josh Goldstein and Ben Robinson switched positions, with Robinson becoming one of Tisbury’s elected members, and Goldstein becoming the select board’s appointee.
In other business, selectmen approved a new three-year contract for Fire Chief Alex Schaeffer. Schaeffer’s salary during the contract will be $156,516, a 4.3 percent increase from his former $150,000 salary.
“He’s done an excellent job,” town administrator James Hagerty said of Schaeffer. “He’s hands down the best fire chief on the Island.”
Selectmen allowed the Newes From America Pub to close for four months, from Jan. 5 to April 1. In a letter, Kelley House manager Evan Bailey wrote that the pandemic caused the “difficult” decision to temporarily close the longtime year-round establishment.
“The decision is in direct response to the impact the global pandemic has taken on our industry. In addition to the pandemic and reductions in business levels, the recent mandate by Gov. Charlie Baker reducing in-dining to 25 percent makes it impossible to cover our operating expenses,” Bailey wrote.
Selectmen also approved a temporary parking easement for the Harborside Hotel, and a purchase and sale agreement with Kathryn Kennedy for 28 Jason Drive, which will be restricted to affordable housing. The purchase price of the Jason Drive lot was $470,000.