State Rep. Dylan Fernandes, D-Falmouth, announced in a press release that two pieces of legislation he advocated were approved by the Massachusetts House of Representatives. One bill, H.5049, will transfer land owned by the Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank Commission to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) “to complete construction of a shared-use path on Beach Road in Oak Bluffs,” while the other, S.2990, will allow Tisbury to host its “annual town meeting at Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS) until 2024, as the Tisbury School undergoes construction.”
“These important legislative matters will improve public safety by providing bicycle and pedestrian accessibility in Oak Bluffs, and encourage local participation in democratic processes by ensuring Tisbury can continue to hold town meetings in a convenient location,” Fernandes said in the release. “I’m proud to have advocated for these two significant local measures to pass through the House.”
H.5049, which Fernandes sponsored, will allow the continued construction of an eight-foot-wide shared-use path along Beach Road that connects Tisbury and Oak Bluffs. The release states the commission owns several parcels of land MassDOT needs to complete the project, and while construction started under a nonexclusive license, legislative approval is needed for the work to continue. MassDOT will “restore the property to its pre-project condition to protect the conservation values of the surrounding lands,” according to the release.
S.2990 will allow Tisbury to legally hold its town meetings outside of town. Traditionally, Tisbury held town meetings in the Tisbury School gym, but it is undergoing construction, and will not be usable “over the next few years.” Town meetings are required to be held within the town under the law, but “Tisbury School is the only suitable public building in the town that can accommodate such a meeting.” The legislation will allow Tisbury to hold town meetings in MVRHS, located in Oak Bluffs, until 2024.
H.5049 will move to the state Senate for further consideration. S.2990 passed through both the state’s House and Senate, waiting for a final decision from Gov. Charlie Baker.