Edgartown select board approves shade tree removal

The European Hornbeam tree outside 81 Main St., on the Church Street side has been approved for removal. — Abigail Rosen

The request to remove a 26-foot-tall European hornbeam tree located outside the courthouse was unanimously approved by the Edgartown select board at its meeting on Monday.

Vineyard Transit Authority administrator Angie Gompert said the tree removal is needed as part of the installation of a charging station on Church Street for VTA’s electric buses. The three transformers located on a utility pole nearest to the location need to be brought down to increase Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) access. Gombert cited plans to “situate the transformer in the least objectionable place along the exit of the parking lot behind the courthouse,” while still allowing a 6- by 6-foot footprint for Eversource. “We will be able to shield it with some plantings so that that [visual] impact will still be an improvement from what’s there,” she said.

“That would be important, not to look at all the electrical units,” select board chair Mike Donaroma said.

In other business, due to concerns over sewerage maintenance, the town is hesitant to allow any expansion of commercial business on town property. Town administrator James Hagerty said the “Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection wants us to start moving forward with the Comprehensive Wastewater Management Plan (CWMP) before we have any extra commercial flows” regarding any large projects. The appropriation of funds for the development of a CWMP is currently an item in the Edgartown town meeting warrant, estimated at $491,000, and is projected to take 12 to 18 months.

Hagerty cited the urgency of the development of a CWMP, ­which will cover nitrogen mitigation and watershed and septic-related issues, as “a rational basis for allocation of resources and a strategic plan forward so we don’t find ourselves five or six years from now way behind the power curve, and way behind the wastewater flows.”

Hagerty added, “Hopefully people will understand the value of that money, and how it’s for the best interest of the town.”