The West Tisbury select board voted 2-1 to allow Island Grown Initiative (IGI) to run its Mobile Market at Howes House, which is home to the Up-Island Council on Aging. Board member Skipper Manter was the sole dissenting vote, citing how it would be inconsistent with the town’s current zoning bylaws.
Merrick Carreiro, IGI senior director of food equity programs, said the mobile market would operate on Tuesdays from June 21 through mid-October.
“We’ll have the same setup that we’ve had in the past. The only difference will be this year we’ll be using a much smaller vehicle,” Carreiro said. The original, bigger market vehicle “needs too many repairs and is a bit unruly,” so a refrigerated van with tables will be used for the setup. Carreiro told the board the mobile market’s carbon footprint and foot traffic will remain the same.
“We’ve proven that Howes House is one of our best stops, so we’d really like to have permission to continue being there,” she said. “The idea is that we’d move into Howes House probably mid- to late October.”
Carreiro said she has spoken to the Up-Island Council on Aging director, Joyce Albertine, who is in favor of the mobile market.
Board chair Cynthia Mitchell said West Tisbury town administrator Jennifer Rand, who was absent from the meeting, recommended making this a “permanent permission.”
“I hate to say this,” Manter said. “I’m not against it, I think it’s a wonderful idea. It serves very many needy people. However, I’m not in favor of making it permanent because zoning does not allow it.”
The issue of zoning bylaws and retail crept up regarding food trucks and the West Tisbury Farmers Market. The select board met earlier in May with the planning board and zoning board of appeals to refer questions and concerns about the zoning bylaws to town counsel for possible changes in the future.
“There are certain amendments that need to be made to zoning for something like this to be allowed,” Manter continued. “Anyway, I don’t have any objections toward this service taking place at the Howes House or inside the village district. However, for myself, to be consistent, we need to uphold the zoning regulations and not ignore them. These are things adopted by the people, and until the people tell us otherwise — they want something different — I think we have to follow this.”
Initially, Manter said he would abstain during the vote because of how important the mobile market is for the town, but ultimately voted no. “Please respect my position, I’m not against what you’re trying to do here,” he said to Carreiro.
Mitchell agreed that giving IGI nonpermanent permission was reasonable, considering the ongoing discussion about zoning bylaws among town officials. “To make a permanent arrangement going forward while we’re sorting that all out … probably isn’t appropriate at this time,” Mitchell said.
In other business, the board unanimously appointed to the West Tisbury shellfish committee Jesse Holtham as a member and Bill Austin as an alternate member.
Holtham and Austin were not the only ones to be appointed to West Tisbury positions. The board unanimously voted to approve a lengthy list of positions, from Jefrey Dubard as an affordable housing committee member to West Tisbury Police Chief Matt Mincone as the truant officer. A list of appointments can be found on the town website.
The board voted 2-0 to accept the resignation of West Tisbury Police Officer Phil Hollinger, who was the West Tisbury Police Department’s Officer of the Year in 2020. Manter abstained from voting since he is the lieutenant in the department.
West Tisbury officials are planning to meet with Chilmark and Aquinnah officials to discuss how to fund the Howes House renovation. A final date will be determined, but the West Tisbury select board is aiming for a day in the week of June 26.