Engineering firm to evaluate Chappy Ferry climate risks

Board also approves propane storage.

Edgartown voters approved allotting funds to conduct an engineering study and feasibility assessment of Chappy Ferry's climate change resiliency at this year's town meeting — MV Times

At its Tuesday meeting, the Edgartown select board approved a $200,000 contract with engineering firm Fuss & O’Neill to conduct a study and feasibility assessment regarding the Chappy Ferry’s susceptibility to climate change hazards. 

Approved at the spring annual town meeting, the study and assessment will be vital in seeking and securing grants and alternative funding for Chappy Ferry–related capital improvement projects geared toward climate resilience, aligning with the state’s Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness Program. 

Town administrator James Hagerty said the study and assessment conducted by Fuss & O’Neill will be focusing specifically on the ferry ramps and the adjacent egress/ingress roads. Hagerty said after interviewing two firms for the contract, the Chappy Ferry steering committee selected Fuss & O’Neill “based on [their] presentation as well as the scope of work they provided.” The steering committee relayed that the engineering firm “could most satisfy the requirements of the town and the requirements of Chappy residents.” 

Select board members also approved a propane storage land license requested by AmeriGas.

AmeriGas engineer Tom Hevner told the select board that the company is looking to increase its propane storage at 6 North Line Road, as it will be transferring two 30,000-gallon propane tanks from the existing facility at 7 North Line Road, for a combined bulk of four aboveground 30,000-gallon tanks. 

Hevner said additional storage plans included in the request will result in an overall increase in “storage of flammables — up to 280,000 gallons.” 

The request comes following a 2021 approval by the Martha’s Vineyard Commission, and will require a further application submission to the state fire marshal. 

Due to the town’s increased population, now surpassing 5,000 residents, Hagerty told the select board that businesses requiring weights and inspections be performed (such as gas stations), will no longer be free for Edgartown. Hagerty said the town is looking into how to proceed regarding the new charge. He said that following an internal course of action may prove to be “cost-prohibitive” for Edgartown, and therefore he is looking to contracting out the work to the state. Select board members unanimously approved the contract. 

In other business, the select board denied a request to block a portion of a public way for construction at 55 Cottage St. before the approved zoning bylaw allows. Edgartown’s bylaws restrict construction before Sept. 15. 

“We’ve not allowed anybody else to occupy the public way before [Sept.] 15 so far this year,” said highway superintendent Allan DeBettencourt, suggesting that the rules be the same for the mentioned applicants. 

A letter from the applicant sent to the board cited an unforeseen delay in the project. Select board member Arthur Smadbeck inquired as to whether the delay was reported before or after the May 15 end date for construction. DeBettencourt confirmed that the problems with the site had been noted by the applicant within the appropriate time frame, but reiterated its irrelevance: “I just don’t feel it’s the correct time of year to be doing that,” DeBettencourt said, regarding requesting special permission to undergo construction before the bylaws would allow. 

The select board unanimously agreed to deny the application.


  1. If the sea level is truly rising why not just dredge the harbor periodically to offset it? There, problem solved. Where do I collect my $200K

  2. Although Donaroma’s‘s landscaping crew occupied the road and sidewalk space at the very busy intersection of Main Street and peases point way for over a week. That was just three weeks ago in the height of the summer.

  3. So I know sea level is rising– it’s pretty obvious. But I find the picture that the Times chose to run here a bit disingenuous. Was that picture taken at the height of the storm surge from hurricane Bob, or something like it ?
    People like John Axel or andy will seize upon it and claim alarmist propaganda.
    Of course , John’s comment above shows his level of understanding about the issue, and about science or physics in general.
    It’s probably sarcasm–But hard to tell.
    He might actually think dredging the harbor will actually solve the problem.
    Tough to argue with that logic if you have your head in the sand (I’m being polite) and think science is a plot by some Jewish cabal that is out to control us all.

  4. ‘It’s probably sarcasm – But hard to tell” is pure sarcasm.
    John got the science right, this time.
    Dredging lowers the sea level, if the spoils are brought ashore.

    • Albert — I can admit it when someone is correct. You and John are correct that dredging will in fact reduce sea level if the spoils are put on land. Congratulations on your understanding of basic science related to this issue.
      But the obvious sarcastic nature of John’s comment becomes apparent when one takes the scale of the problem into consideration.
      If you made it as far as 9th grade, you may remember those pesky “word problems” they started throwing around in math classes. Like “if a train leaves Chicago travelling at…”
      These questions helped put all that basic math we learned in elementary school to practical applications.. Not that figuring out exactly where 2 trains were going to pass met that criteria, but you get the idea.

      So I have a word problem for you.
      If we were to dredge the Edgartown harbor, and put the soils on Martha’s Vineyard, how tall would the pile of spoils have to be to offset one years’ worth of runoff from Greenland ?

      Simple question.
      Any 9th grader with a calculator and an internet connection should be able to solve in under 5 minutes.
      Some parameters to start with ;
      280 Billion tons of ice melted in Greenland last year and went into the ocean, thereby raising sea level .

      For rounding purposes, I am using 100 square miles as the given area of M.V.

      Note that we are not addressing any other source of sea level rise, including thermal expansion. That’s a concept for 10th grade.

      So I have already figured this one out—
      I will post the “long math” if you request it, but I thought I would spare the readers from a mass narcoleptic event.

      The answer is —— 3243 ft.—– give or take a few inches for rounding errors.
      We’re gonna need a bigger dredge.

      So either Axel is being sarcastic, of he simply has no concept of the scale of the issue.

      It’s like me going to Afghanistan with my Toyota pickup truck full of rice to end the food shortage there.

  5. What is alarmist is calling capital project planning for old out dated equipment a decision for ”climate change resilience””. Will we now ask all new housing projects to offer climate change resilience plans for construction? Will we ask Stop and Shop expansion plans for ”climate change resilience and have their future held hostage by the MVC?

    • Andy– I’m a little confused. On many occasions here, you have stated that humans are resilient and are better off adapting to climate change, rather than quit burning fossil fuels and try to slow it down.
      Now, we have a local article about how the administrators of one tiny piece of infrastructure is exploring how to adapt to it. You are now sounding the “alarm”, I.e. blowing a dog whistle, about our future being “held hostage by the MVC”.
      At least you are not blaming George Soros for having “control” over the MVC.

      • Keller it is easy for you to be confused. Soros doesnt need to influence the MVC—they are fully capable of making wrong decisions often without help.

        • Right, andy–It is easy for me to get confused when I see what you write. You seem to take whatever argument you have and flip it over occasionally. I pay attention to what you say. So regardless of my ability to be confused, why the change of heart about adapting our infrastructure ?
          Are you now saying we should ignore the causes of rising sea level, AND allow our infrastructure to be overwhelmed ?
          Please try to be clear– I’m probably not the only one that gets confused by your doublespeak.

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