• Summer is here and Menemsha is not quite ready

Menemsha Scrambles to Get Ready for Summer

  • Wednesday, June 21, 2017 - 2:51pm

Summer has officially arrived, but preparations for the season are still underway in Menemsha.

Chilmark selectmen did not hide their annoyance this week over slow work in the fishing village that is a major tourist destination.

“Most places would try to get ready for the season by Memorial Day, and we’re not even making it by the first day of summer,” selectman Warren Doty said at Tuesday’s board meeting. “It’s just a constant concern of mine that we’re behind.”

The swim line at Menemsha Beach has yet to be installed because of a mixup with the float order. Harbor master Dennis Jason said he is still waiting on moorings from Goodale Construction and hopes to have the line installed by Friday.

Meanwhile, progress on the park and ride shuttle lot on Tabor House Road is also behind schedule. The area has been graded and parking spaces defined, but the recently-acquired solar lights haven’t been installed.

“We have everything but the pole,” executive secretary Tim Carroll said.

“Can we rig it with PVC for three weeks and at least have our parking lot function?” Mr. Doty asked.

The selectmen are also waiting on quotes for a few unaddressed items from their spring walkabout of the harbor, including work on four pilings and some dredging.

Traffic officer Kevin Burchill provided an update on parking signs at the harbor. He said they are working on installation. Mr. Burchill asked the selectmen to designate the space between Crick Hill and the bridge on the harbor side as a no parking area. The selectmen agreed.

Mr. Carroll raised another parking issue at the harbor. He said the tour company Martha’s Vineyard Excursions has violated the terms of their street license to operate in the town by parking tour buses illegally in Menemsha, including on the bridge and in the road, and driving on the West Dock.

Mr. Carroll has drafted a letter to owner Mark Leith that states if the violations continue, the town will revoke the company’s street license.

In other business, selectmen decided to take no action on Daniel Aaron’s request to offer yoga classes at Menemsha beach. They said the request was too open-ended and added that no commercial activity is allowed on the beach. While Mr. Aaron proposed that the classes would be free to the public, the selectmen expressed doubts about his policy to accept donations. “I don’t think this passes the scratch and sniff test,” selectman Jim Malkin said.

The board approved a request by the Martha’s Vineyard Fishermen’s Preservation Trust to host their third annual Meet the Fleet event on the docks in Menemsha on August 3.

Also the selectmen accepted the donation of John Armstrong’s fishing shack to the town. According to the bill of sale, which included a token $1 payment, the one condition of the gift is that it be used by a commercial fisherman for the purpose of commercial fishing.

The selectmen decided to send a letter to Chip Vanderhoop about a floating dock extending from his Aquinnah lot into Chilmark waters. Abutters say the floating dock impedes access to their own docks.

Mr. Vanderhoop did not respond to correspondence from Mr. Jason dated May 25 requesting the removal of the dock. The selectmen’s letter will reiterate the request. The board also authorized the harbor master to consult with town counsel about removing the town pilings which the owner is using to tie up the floating dock.

Discussion continues on various site options for a public safety building in town. The selectmen will now consider a feasibility study at the current site of the North Road fire station.

Preliminary discussion is under way over a future affordable housing development on town-owned land at Peaked Hill Pastures. Selectmen have recommended that the town housing committee speak with Adam Turner, executive director of the Martha’s Vineyard Commission, about various options.

The selectmen also approved a request from the Martha’s Vineyard parking clerk to raise the processing fee for parking tickets from $1.50 to $2, effective July 1, 2017 to make up for a shortfall.