The Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank Commission voted 4-0 to sign a release deed with the commonwealth for Doug’s Cove Preserve, but declined payment for it. Commission vice chair and commonwealth representative Wesley Motts abstained.
Land Bank executive director James Lengyel told the commission a bike path is being constructed on Beach Road, a part of which goes along the preserve in Oak Bluffs. The commonwealth reached out to the Land Bank about “the need to obtain some portion of the Land Bank property in order to make the path go forward.” For the land transfer, Lengyel said the commonwealth wants “eight-hundredths of one acre” and “four-thousandths of one acre” in land for full and partial easements. Additionally, according to Lengyel, the Land Bank’s properties are subject to Article 97 of the Massachusetts Constitution, which, he told The Times “states that land set aside for conservation cannot be used for any other purpose unless voted by each of the two houses of the legislature, and each by a two-thirds margin, followed by the signature of the governor.”
“That has happened,” Lengyel said. The only issue is that since the state is “obtaining some land, it is its custom to pay.” The compensation amount stated in the deed is $10,000. However, Lengyel said there can be a problem for the Land Bank, “a public agency funded by taxpayers,” accepting money from another taxpayer-funded agency.
“I think we should decline it,” Aquinnah commissioner Sarah Thulin said. “It’s in keeping with what we’ve done.”
Commission chair and Chilmark representative Pamela Goff took the opportunity to criticize the bike path project, saying she can’t believe how it has impacted wetlands.
“It’s appalling, to me, as a conservation commissioner,” she said.
After showing the deed, Lengyel suggested declining the compensation and authorizing Land Bank staff to sign a final version of the document. A copy of the deed is available on the MV Times website.
In other business, the commission decided by consensus to add an option for Youth Deer Hunt Day, which takes place on Saturday, Oct. 1, on its general hunting application. The commission previously considered the Youth Deer Hunt Day during an August meeting.
Land superintendent Harrison Kisiel said despite the publicity the Youth Deer Hunt Day received in the newspapers, “we ended up having zero applicants for it.” Kisiel suggested adding a checkbox for Youth Deer Hunt Day on the hunting application, which will be available starting on Thursday, Sept. 15.
“We give it until the following Friday, the 23rd, to see if anybody does check it off,” Kisiel said. “If they do, then that following Monday I would come with a suggestion as to a property we would pick to allow for that.”
Kisiel said they can take down the checkbox if nobody signs up, since “a week’s notice is what we need to get the notice out to the public, etc.”
Tisbury commissioner Nancy Weaver relayed some information she heard from outdoorsman Nelson Sigelman about Youth Deer Hunt Day at Manuel F. Correllus State Forest. She heard from Sigelman that since this is a state program, additional permissions are not needed for those with appropriate permits and licensure to participate in Youth Deer Hunt Day at the State Forest. “People are doing it already,” Weaver said, although she approved of Kisiel’s idea.
Meanwhile, the commission unanimously approved accepting an annual gift of $100 from Tammy Kallman in memory of her husband Wayne Kallman.
The Land Bank is looking for a new wildlife biology intern to join its staff.