Tisbury’s select board voted 2-0 on Wednesday, July 13, to approve a housing amendment to its agreement with W.T. Rich, construction manager at risk for the Tisbury School renovation and addition project. The deal would allow W.T. Rich employees to lodge at the old waterworks office building near the Tashmoo Spring.
“It has been vacant for a considerable amount of time,” town administrator Jay Grande told the board. Grande said there are other places on the Island where workforce housing solutions have occurred using government real estate.
“I don’t know what the future holds, but at this time the construction team wants to house six people there,” Grande said. “There’s a list of items they would have to do to the house in order to bring it up to code … I don’t know what the value of that work is.’
Grande said he hasn’t begun discussion on payments.
“I see this as a temporary arrangement,” Grande said. “Nothing is precedent-setting, in terms that the select board, following this experience, may decide you want to go back and use it for other purposes …” Grande said he supports the concept.
KP Law attorney David Doneski, who serves as Tisbury town counsel, reiterated that a number of improvements would be required for the property to be inhabited. “Those would all be undertaken by W.T. Rich,” Doneski said. “We would do this in the form of an amendment to the construction manager agreement between the town and W.T. Rich. They would undertake the improvements, which I think would take a matter of weeks, as I understand it. And then, for record purposes really, have a nominal monthly payment to the town.”
Doneski added W.T. Rich would be expected to adhere to typical landlord-tenant rules like maintaining insurance, keeping the premises clean, and refraining from illegal activity.
Doneski said the building could hold up to six people, but it was “fairly unlikely” there would be six people there at any one time.
Lorraine Wells, a member of the Tashmoo Spring Building management committee, expressed her support for the idea so long as the occupation is temporary
In other business, the board, in its capacity as road commissioners, voted 2-0 to approve nighttime utility work on Beach Road.
Grande said Comcast desired to do work on July 20 and 21 from 10 pm to 6 am. “There’s no jackhammering or trenching,” Grande said. The work will be aerial.
Grande noted Eversource had completed major parts of its Beach Road project work, but still there are vestigial, half-sawn utility poles. These hold Comcast and Verizon wires. Grande said Verizon and Comcast still need to relocate their wires to new utility poles where Eversource has already hung its electrical lines. Once this is done, the half-poles can be removed. Citing intense demand for utility crews, Grande said, “I would not want to miss this opportunity to get this work done.”
Select board member John Cahill asked if there would be Comcast service interruptions.
“I do not know the answer to that, John; they did not bring that up,” Grande said.
Grande went on to say Comcast would have to notify property owners of a service disruption.
Cahill also asked if there would be added equipment or wires.
Grande said he would ask if changes or modifications have been made to the Beach Road project plans.
Cahill reiterated his concern about service disruptions. “We have business along that route, that’s all I’m concerned about,” he said.
On the recommendation of Police Chief Chris Habekost, the board voted 2-0 to appoint Cory Medeiros as a full-time patrol officer.
Chair Larry Gomez was absent from the meeting.