Fire station, light pollution highlight Edgartown warrant

A rendering of the proposed fire station. — Town of Edgartown

The warrant for the annual and Special Edgartown Town Meeting is 93 articles long, and includes a 5½ percent budget increase from last year.

The $42.6 million budget is higher than last year largely because of the rising costs of services and salaries seen across the Northeast and country, according to town officials.

“It’s the same forces that are affecting Massachusetts and the rest of the Vineyard,” Hagerty said. “Inflationary costs are driving up the costs of goods and services.”

At the same time, the town meeting warrant has a number of requests to store away funding for projected capital projects, like the high school renovation or rebuild, wastewater management projects, upgrading municipal wells, and a new Council on Aging facility.

But likely to get the most attention on town meeting floor Tuesday are the current capital requests, like the new fire station and improvements to the North Wharf. Both will require an affirmative vote at the town election as well.

The town is requesting $21 million for the fire station rebuild. The proposed station’s footprint will be roughly double the size of the current one. Plans call for a three-bay garage and auxiliary space behind the station, and there will be enough space for training.
The current fire station is pushing six decades old, and town officials say that the department has outgrown the building.

The town is also asking for $2.6 million to fund renovations at the North Wharf. Town meeting in 2019 already approved nearly $1 million for the project; the town has also received funding from the state. But project costs climbed over the past few years, Hagerty said.

The plan is to replace the bulkhead, timber pilings, and additional other work on the commercial marine hub.

Other capital projects include more than $1.5 million in upgrades at the town’s wastewater treatment plant. That’s funding to replace a number of parts, including a water effluent pump system and sludge belt.

In a slightly smaller request, the town wants $700,000 to demolish and rebuild the animal control officer’s facilities. Hagerty says the current kennel hasn’t been updated since the 1980s, and many of the services provided have to be outsourced to veterinarians, at a cost to the town.

The town is also looking to replace the playground at the Edgartown School, and build an outdoor classroom. The total for the project is estimated at nearly $1 million.

Voters will be asked to consider a study to find the best management practices for ferry service to Chappaquiddick Island, whether that would be a town-led or nonprofit operation.

And town meeting will also be asked to consider a zoning provision dealing with light pollution. Edgartown resident Norma Holmes put in the request. The idea is to “maintain the traditional character of Edgartown, including the unique quality of the nighttime sky,” the article’s explanation reads. The article recommends such changes to zoning as requiring outdoor lights to “not be offensive” to neighbors.

“In all zoning districts, any private outdoor lighting fixture, whether temporary or permanent, shall be so directed, placed, and shielded so that the light shall not be offensive to other residents. All outdoor lighting must be shielded and pointed downward. All outdoor lighting shall be placed or mounted so that no lamp is higher than the eave line of the structure,” the article reads.

Town meeting in Edgartown will take place at 7 pm at the Old Whaling Church.


  1. Can we have a zoning bylaw that addresses the gas-powered-leaf-blowing-noise pollution every day? The obscene level of noise is unacceptable. Four guys with them in my neighbor’s yard last week all blowing around nothing at each other for an hour.

    • Four guys blowing in one yard. It must have been over in ten minutes.
      Who rakes your leaves?

  2. I agree!! Our landscaper has gone electric but no other landscapers have. There should be an ordinance that by 2024 all leaf blowers, hedge trimmers, etc must be electric.

    Michele & David Hedley

    • The fact that most companies require a contract that sends a crew over to mow and blow dirt around twice a week is pure greed. There is no need for that much “landscaping” maintenance on most residential lots.

  3. Hooray for the light pollution measure. It is long overdue. BUt the measure should not be focused only on annoying neighbors, stopping the upward aimed light should be a priority, too. (and btw, lighting aimed upwards is electricity wasted). We used to be able to clearly see the majesty of the stars on the Vineyard…. unfortunately that that view has diminished over the past 40 years.

  4. All this gas powered landscaping equipment is not only unbearably noisy, but is also spewing CO2 and other particulate matter into our air. Any small bugs, worms, etc, just get blown away, and there goes the birds’ food.

  5. Be careful what you wish for with banning gas powered leaf blowers. I know people in towns where they banned them and many people, not several, cut down old growth trees to mitigate having to rake and maintain their property. There is such thing as cause and effect. I would probably do the same here on MV

    • If you eliminate trees you eliminate all life on earth. Here’s what Trees do for us as humans and animals.

      Trees give us air to breath.
      Trees absorb air pollution by burning fossil fuels.
      Trees help to shade the ground to keep earth’s temperature in check.
      Trees also absorb water from the ground and after it rains during storms. It’s based on science.

  6. My yard is covered in oak tree leaves. Interestingly, I have no oak trees in my yard. But I’ll still opt to get rid of these leaves the “old fashioned way” as adding to the noise surrounding me re leaf blowers is so loud and upsetting that I don’t wish to add to it.

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