Home Port, the Bite, and Menemsha Market will remain closed, the Chilmark select board learned during a Zoom meeting Tuesday. Home Port and the Bite have been closed for about two years now, while Menemsha Market has been closed for four years.
Debbie Packer, owner of Menemsha Market, was not present at the meeting. Prior to the meeting, Packer told the board that she was not ready to discuss her plans.
Sarah Nixon, owner of Home Port and the Bite, said COVID and the difficulties brought on by the pandemic forced their closures. During 2020, her restaurants could not find the staff they needed, so it was a lot of “learning and doing” in an attempt to get them reopened. The Bite’s grounds were also given a percolation test in preparation for a septic tank that will be coming in the future. Home Port very recently found help, such as another housekeeper and a worker to help in fixing up the restaurant. Nixon said the compounded issues made 2021 “the most difficult summer” she has ever dealt with, even compared to 2020. Nixon said she plans to open the Bite and Home Port as soon as possible.
Home Port and the Bite are not the only organizations finding difficulty in recruiting people. Chilmark Police Chief Jonathan Klaren said two traffic officers left the department, so they are “scrambling” to fill these positions. Meanwhile, Chilmark’s town committees are hard-pressed for members. The list presented to the select board members consisted of only a third of the people needed to fill positions. Select board chair William Rossi invited people who are interested in a committee position to send an email about themselves and their background.
In other business, the select board also approved the membership renewal for the Massachusetts Interlocal Insurance Association, which will cost $164,798. According to Timothy Carroll, town administrator, Chilmark received credit for its participation in the program, so the town will only pay two-thirds of the full price.
Meanwhile, the select board rejected an appeal of a conservation commission decision that will allow a dam to be removed in a pond near North Road. Town counsel Ronald Rappaport, in a letter, called the group seeking to appeal — Island Grown Initiative, Peter Dunkl, Frank Dunkl, Mollie Doyle, Erin Doyle, and Robert Doyle — abutters. As abutters they don’t have standing to appeal to the town, but could take the matter to court, according to Rappaport.