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County Commission Minutes 03/13/02

A regular meeting of the County of Dukes County Commissioners was held on Wednesday, March 13, 2002 at 7:30 p.m. in the Conference Room of the County Administration Building, notice of such meeting having been posted as required by law.

Commissioners Present:  Leslie H. Leland, Chairman
                                Daniel Flynn    
                                Robert Sawyer
                                Leonard Jason, Jr.
        E. B. Collins
                                Roger Wey
Commissioner Absent:    John Alley

Also Present:           Carol Borer, County Manager     
                                Marsha Smolev, Executive Assistant      
                                Sheriff McCormack
               Stephen Berlucchi, County Engineer
                                Barbara Shriber, COMSOG
                                Chris Burrell, Vineyard Gazette
Chairman Leland called the meeting to order at 7:35 p.m.
        Commissioner Collins Moved that the Minutes of February 27, 2002
        be Accepted as written. Commissioner Wey Seconded the Motion.
        The Minutes were Approved.  Commissioner Sawyer Abstained.

The County Manager began her report by noting that town officials frequently ask for explanations about County finances.  In response, the County Manager distributed Financial Reports that she designed graphically to illustrate County Revenues, County Expenditures, and General Fund Expenditures.  The Reports will also be distributed to Town officials at the next All Island Selectmen’s Meeting.

The County Manager reported that Tim Soverino, Nantucket County Commissioner, has suggested that the Nantucket County Commissioners meet with the County Commissioners here on the Vineyard March 27, 2002.  The Commissioners discussed the suggested meeting and realized that because of Town Meeting schedules, they would not be able to meet with the Nantucket representatives until late April.  Agenda items were discussed by Commissioner Sawyer, including Nantucket’s housing for teachers’ project and grant seeking.  Commissioner Collins asked if Nantucket had particular agenda items to discuss.  Mrs. Borer said Nantucket County Commissioner Soverino mentioned the Windmill Turbine Project on Nantucket Sound, and the problems of shrinking revenues. Commissioner Jason said he would like to meet with the public works operator.  It was suggested that the Nantucket Commissioners bring a report on the composting plant.

Mrs. Borer reviewed Draft #2 Beach Regulations as modified by request of the County Commissioners at their last meeting.  

        Commissioner Flynn Moved that Draft #2 Beach Regulations be Adopted
        as amended.  Commissioner Jason Seconded the Motion that Passed

Commissioner Wey reviewed the meeting on February 28, 2002 of the New York Avenue Subcommittee and abutters, noting that the overwhelming consensus of the abutters was to leave the property open but to let COMSOG remain on the property.  Mrs. Borer reviewed her proposal for elderly housing on the property, stating that elderly housing would have less of an impact than family housing and she thought that would be more agreeable to abutters.  Commissioner Wey stressed that he thought the need was not for elderly housing, but for housing for young people who grew up here and wanted to stay.  Commissioner Wey said the Oak Bluffs Resident Homesite Committee agreed the buildings on the property should be torn down for public safety reasons.  Mrs. Borer reminded the Commissioners that the deed for the property restricts use of the property to County purposes through 2005.  She added that the abutters wanted the property to be a park, and she believed Oak Bluffs already had about 42 parks.  She said the abutters were reminded that there was an agreement by the County Commissioners to keep the existing uses on the property, including a community meeting space and some housing (as there was for summer interns.)  A draft floor plan for a community meeting space with dormitory style bedrooms upstairs (2 people/room), designed by County Engineer Berlucchi, was distributed.  Discussion followed about use of the meeting room.  Commissioner Jason suggested a group such as the 4-H.  Mrs. Borer referred to a list of meeting room users that Bill Wilcox had presented.  The list included the shellfish group, for example.  Commissioner Sawyer suggested looking for grant money if the building was to be used for community groups.  Commissioner Wey asked about the cost of such a building.  Engineer Berlucchi estimated 3,000 square feet x $150/square foot, which would equal approximately $450,000.  He noted that the septic system was at least 10 years old and might not be able to accommodate the new uses.  That would increase the cost substantially.  

Handicap accessibility was mentioned.  Engineer Berlucchi said the building would be legally accessible.  Commissioner Jason explained that the ground floor, the public part, would be accessible.  The upstairs bedroom would not be public and would not have to be accessible.  Commissioner Jason also added that he thought it necessary to see what happens with 40B in Oak Bluffs, before planning housing.  

Chairman Leland said the property was a public nuisance, that the site was dangerous and needed to be made safe.  Commissioner Wey reiterated that the consensus at the abutters’ meeting was to remove buildings and make the property safe for the public.  Mrs. Borer said her intention was to start by removing the white building.  Commissioner Wey said the three front buildings should be removed.  Mrs. Borer voiced concern about the cost and whether the County could afford to do all three at once.  The lots were examined on the map, noting locations of the tackle shop, Bill Wilcox’s old office, the Quonset hut, the cabins.  The greenhouse on the two back lots would remain, as would one shed that was used for greenhouse equipment storage.  The County was interested in removing and using one or two cabins, as was the Sheriff’s Department.  

Commissioner Wey was concerned about safety and the possibility of children falling into the basement through the windows that remain open.  Filling in cesspools and closing foundations was discussed.

        Commissioner Wey Moved that the County Manager get a price on
       removing each of the buildings separately, the white building, the bait shop,
the offices.  Commissioner Collins Seconded the Motion.  

Mrs. Borer added that the Commissioners had been discussing this property for two years next month.  Engineer Berlucchi discussed getting separate figures to remove each building separately and perhaps three phone quotes could be obtained.  Mrs. Borer said she would examine the budget, speak to Advisory Board members and auditors to find a way to fund this project. Commissioner Wey pressed to get started on the project.  

        The Vote to Pass the Motion was Unanimous.

Commissioner Collins Moved to declare cabins A,B,C, and E surplus and
make them available for removal.  Commissioner Wey Seconded the Motion.
        The Vote to Pass the Motion was Unanimous.
Commissioner Collins asked how to bring this to a conclusion, how to move ahead?  Commissioner Jason said the Commissioners had voted to examine the way to serve all existing users and not displace anyone, and try to include housing, to maintain uses.  He reiterated that Oak Bluffs was facing comprehensive housing.  Commissioner Wey said the Oak Bluffs Selectmen were concerned that housing be available to the whole Island, not just Oak Bluffs.  Mrs. Borer asked how to overcome the neighbor’s wish for open space?  Commissioner Jason reported the Jack Law, Resident Homesite Committee, said he wasn’t looking for something to develop, but if the land was given away, the Oak Bluffs’ Resident Homesite Committee would deal with it and open it up to the Island.  Commissioner Wey reminded the group that the Oak Bluffs’ Resident Homesite Committee had offered to buy the property to develop with the neighbors.  He said he believed Selectman Combra agreed with that idea.  Mrs. Borer said her position remained that she was not in favor of selling the property, but she would consider a lease.  She added that the County did not own that much property, and she thought leasing was better.  Commissioner Wey said the County Commissioners should hear from the Oak Bluffs’ Selectmen as they heard from neighbors.
Commissioner Sawyer said the Selectmen should discuss it first.  Commissioner Wey said they already agreed the buildings had to be removed.  

Chairman Leland asked that Mrs. Borer provide the Commissioners with a copy of the vote about the property taken by the County Commissioners so it can be reviewed.  Mrs. Borer said she would locate the Minutes.  Commissioner Collins asked why there should be more meetings about it if the Commissioners already voted?  Why not implement the vote and move on?

(Engineer Berlucchi left at 8:20 PM)

Commissioner Sawyer reported that he was on a panel held by the League of Women Voters about school regionalization.  While the community seems to agree on some sort of regionalization, the particular models for doing so differ tremendously.  He said it would be difficult to get a consensus.  He said the Island wants a middle school, but is far from agreeing on how to get one.  He added that West Tisbury, Oak Bluffs voiced their opinions, but Tisbury and Edgartown did not vote on the non-binding questions.  Commissioner Jason suggested hearing from them.  

Commissioner Sawyer reported on the Emergency Medical Services Procurement Committee (EMSPC), stating the EMSPC was ‘between a rock and a hard place.’ Aquinnah and Chilmark said they would only support money going to the Emergency Room.  Tisbury and West Tisbury want a broader umbrella of Health and Human Services.  Edgartown would not support either.  Oak Bluffs doesn’t have the money. (Commissioner Wey said they would support the Emergency Room.)  The idea of supporting Windemere was also an option.  Commissioner Sawyer thought the activity reports required by the EMSPC would serve the community well, but he was unsure how the group would proceed.  He suggested putting the issue of public money for healthcare before the All Island Selectmen.  Mrs. Borer noted that Tisbury still had not paid either payment, when Commissioner Jason inquired.  She added that other towns were overdue in paying their second payments.  Commissioner Wey said he did not foresee a problem with Oak Bluffs, that they would pay.

Commissioner Jason Moved that the meeting adjourn. Commissioner Flynn Seconded the Motion.  The meeting adjourned at 8:35 PM.  

Complete text of meeting is available on tape at the County Commissioner’s office.


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