Dukes County Commission Meeting Minutes
Thursday June 19, 2008
County Administration Building
Call to Order
Chairman Les Leland called the County Commissioner’s meeting to order at 5:10 p.m. Commissioners Roger Wey, Tristan Israel, Lenny Jason, Paul Strauss and Carlene Gatting were present.
Also in attendance were County Manager Russell Smith, Executive Assistant Jennifer Randolph, County Clerk Joe Sollitto, County Treasurer Noreen Mavro-Flanders, County Sheriff Michael McCormack, Airport Manager Sean Flynn, Integrated Pest Management TJ Hegarty, Janet Messineo Israel, Christina Miller, Martha Sullivan, Margaret Logue, Richard Knabel, Alexander Trowbridge, Woody Bowman, Timothy Connelly, Tad Crawford, Jeff Kristal, Jynell Kristal, Fella Cecilio, and MVTV.
Acceptance of Minutes
Minutes of April 30, 2008
Tristan Israel / Roger Wey Moved to accept the minutes of April 30, 2008, So Voted, (5-0-1), Lenny Jason abstained.
Chairman’s Report and Communication – Les Leland
County Clerk – Joe Sollitto
Joe Sollitto explained to the Commissioners how the vacancy on the Board would be filled. He explained that it is too late to have it on the ballot for the election. The Clerk of the Court and County Commissioners will by a majority vote appoint someone to serve until the election of 2010.
Joe also reminded the Commissioners of the two mandated meetings that the Commissioners must hold.
Commissioner John Alley arrived at 5:15pm.
Public Hearing on State Beach Rules and Private Function Regulations
Carlene Gattting provided a background on why the Commissioners were reviewing the regulations for State Beach. She explained that the requests for private functions were becoming elaborate and frequent. It was becoming apparent that people were planning to use the beach as an alternative site for events instead of renting other venues. Carlene explained that the County had been working with the different towns and their agents. She listed the other management activities the County has been involved with on the Beach. She explained that the changes to the rules were part of a larger effort to preserve the beach while allowing public access.
Carlene gave a brief overview of the proposed changes. (See Attached Draft Rules, Private Beach Party Information, and Commercial or Special Beach Event Guidelines)
Tim Connelly stated that he felt 20 people were too small of a number to require a porta potty. He feels the County should not require people to supply their own, while there were thousands of people on the beach with no porta potty supplied by the County. Carlene Gatting asked Tim what an appropriate number would be. Tim said a party of 40 should need a permit of some sorts, but not be required to get a porta potty.
Jennifer Randolph pointed out that requiring a porta potty was a recommendation of the Boards of Health. The Boards of Health felt that it was a concern to have a function without providing a porta potty. She also said that the porta potty companies said that one porta potty services around 40 people.
Janet Messineo Israel, on behalf of the Surf Casters stated that she would like to see that non-profits would be able to have the permit fee waived. She asked if the non-profit would still have to get a permit for events at bend in the road. She was told that bend in the road was Edgartown and she would have to consult them.
Woody Bowman of Focus Study Center said that they use State Beach a few times a year for gatherings. He commented that the duration of the event should be taken into consideration when requiring a porta potty. He felt if the event was less than 3 hours the requirement should be waived. He asked if the proposed changes would be applied to Eastville and Norton Point Beach. Carlene answered that the proposed rules would not apply to those beaches and they would have to be changed independently.
Russell Smith further explained that the reason why a function over 40 goes to the beach committee is because of the many different scenarios that could be presented. The beach committee could determine that because of the short duration of the event a porta potty is not required.
Martha Sullivan asked what the difference a permit made. She asked if it was a fiscal need. She stated either activities would harm the environment or not, regardless of a permit. She suggested that maybe weddings should be done in the off season. Carlene stated that when there are large gatherings, it is a concern of the County because it is the County’s responsibility to preserve the beach. The County wants the opportunity to review the event to make sure nothing is going on that could harm the beach. Martha asked if there would be someone to enforce the permits. Carlene answered that the Sheriff’s Dept has someone on bicycle that does patrol the beach during the summer.
Fella Cecilio stated that he has had functions at State Beach. He said last year he was told he would have a designated area and a place to park to unload equipment. It was never done. He did not want to bother people to move so he could set up. He feels that if they have to pay for a permit and get a porta potty they should have these things provided to them. Carlene stated that this is a point that needs to be very clear. It is part of the problem with having an event on State Beach. Public access must be maintained at all times. There is no guarantee that the area someone wants to use will be exclusively their area. They are not renting a part of the beach. There will never be cones marking off the beach or parking. The County cannot deny the public access to the beach.
Les Leland further stated that parking and the beach is for everyone. The County is not in the commercial business of renting portions of the beach. It is for everyone to use. The County is trying to strike a balance between public access, conservation, and small functions.
Carlene invited Fella to meet with the beach committee if he had something in mind and they could try to work it out.
Tristan said he thinks that maybe having a cone for a parking spot could be something that could be worked out. Carlene said it something the beach committee could discuss, but in the middle of August it could be difficult.
Fella further commented that if the County is allowing large groups of people such as 20-30 people, they should accommodate them. He also said he feels the County should provide porta potties. Tristan said if the County could get revenue then they would be able to provide porta potties like the ones at South Beach. Carlene agreed that once the County could get some revenue they would look forward to putting porta potties at State Beach.
Tim asked if the Commissioners were still considering requiring a permit for 20 people. He said that 20 people could be his wife’s family. If they come down and they all decide to go for a swim on a Saturday, they would not be able to because they would need a permit and the County is closed. Tim was told that people going for a swim is not a beach event.
Christina Miller said she could not find where the rules prohibit balloons on the beach. Carlene said if it is not in the rules, it would be added. It was just an oversight. Tristan said that is something that should be put on an educational kiosk explaining the reason behind it. Christina added that she would like to see no styrofoam coolers added to the rules.
Christina said that she felt page three “Vehicular Access” encourages driving on the beach. Carlene said maybe adding No Driving on State Beach should be added in Caps.
Fella asked if alcohol could be served at functions. Fella said that at any time a person could go to the beach and find someone with a beer or a glass of wine. He said that his customers have their homeowners cover their event and would like to have alcohol. Les Leland answered that the County is the custodian of the beach which is owned by the State. State law prohibits alcohol on all state beaches. So in the regulations alcohol is prohibited. Les also pointed out that there are Town open container laws. Carlene said there is really nothing else the County can do about it.
Woody Bowman asked for clarification of the definitions of a beach event and special beach event. He suggested that a beach event should be defined as 20-40 people not more than 20 – 40 people. He also asked if 20-40 people could go to the beach during the day. He suggested clarifying the definition and recommended taking out for recreational use and leave for social and commercial.
Martha Sullivan recommended information on the rules be made available to beach goers.
Christina Miller re-stated that she thinks the vehicular access portion of the rules should be taken out and treated separate because they deal with the Sengekontacket side.
Sheriff McCormack recommended that the language regarding the times of events get cleaned up.
Tristan Israel suggested the beach committee meet again, have the meeting publicized, and then bring back recommendations to the full board. Paul Strauss agreed.
Lenny Jason asked if counsel could look at the permitting process to determine if it was commercial activity. He feels the County should be concentrating on making sure the public has access to the beach and not a place for catering or weddings.
Tristan said he does not see the need. Carlene said she understands Lenny’s point. Due to the amount of time it takes to go through the process, she feels there should be a fee. Lenny said then don’t allow events. There was discussion regarding the events by Island organizations that have been going on for years. No one wanted to stop them, but there was some concern about the other event requests. Roger suggested letting the beach committee work on the regulations some more.
Carlene said that if Lenny could frame the question for counsel then she would support it being looked into.
It was agreed that the subcommittee would meet and then bring their recommendations back.
Tristan Israel / Paul Strauss Moved to close the Public Hearing, So Voted, unanimous, (7-0-0).
County Manager’s Report – Russell Smith
Airport Grant Assurances
Tristan Israel / Carlene Gatting Moved to accept both grant assurances, So Voted, unanimous, (7-0-0).
Eastville Beach Update
Russell reported that he has met with both the Oak Bluffs and Tisbury Selectmen about the state’s proposal for Eastville Beach. He reported that he had also spoke with Doug Cameron and let him know about the concerns, such as swimming. He said that Mr. Cameron was open to separating out the swimming areas of the beach. Tristan recommended bringing a map of the beach to the next Eastville Beach Committee to start delineating the sections.
Language for Statute Regarding County Manager
Russell presented language to the Commissioners that were drafted to change the statute regarding the position of County Manager.
Carlene said there is a recommendation of the Charter Study to require residency of the County Manager after 6 months. She feels this would be the opportunity to make that change as well.
Discussion of Appointment to MVC
Carlene said she would like to serve on the MVC, but is overcommitted through August. She asked Paul if he would continue to serve through August. He said he would. Carlene would start on the MVC in September.
Administrative Recommendations of the Charter Study Commission
The Commissioners started to go down the list of recommendations. There was discussion on how the list should be handled. Tristan pointed out that from a process point of view, some of the items need to be put into Administrative Code. Those should be identified, while others just need to be put into practice.
Tristan Israel / Carlene Gatting Moved to put the first bullet that reads “Require that a question calling for the creation of a Dukes County Charter Study Commission be placed on the County/State ballot every eight years beginning from the election of November, 2008” after a Public Hearing, So Voted, (6-0-1), Paul Strauss abstained.
Lenny asked if it would be helpful to have a preamble explaining the goals of the codes. Tristan said he would support that.
Tristan Israel / Carlene Gatting Moved to put the second bullet that reads “Incorporate provisions for voter-initiated recall of County Commissioners into the Administrative Code and pursue special enabling legislation, if needed” after a Public Hearing, So Voted, (6-0-1), Paul Strauss abstained.
Margaret Logue said she would like to see some priority set to each recommendation. There was more discussion on how the recommendations should be handled.
Lenny Jason / Roger Wey Moved to create a subcommittee to place each recommendation into appropriate categories to be implemented.
Amendment Lenny Jason / John Alley Moved to add “minus the bullets on the airport”, So Voted, (6-1-0) Carlene Gatting voted no.
Tristan Israel / John Alley Moved to change the residency requirement for the County Manager from Martha’s Vineyard to Dukes County, So Voted, unanimous, (7-0-0).
Carlene asked if the Commission would consider looking at the recommendations regarding the airport. She stressed that she is not looking to receive revenue from the airport, but feels it is important to have a piece of paper stating that the County could not receive income from the airport for the future.
Motion as Amended
To create a subcommittee to place each recommendation, with the exception of the bullets referring to the airport, and changing the residency requirement of the County Manager from Martha’s Vineyard to Dukes County, to place each recommendation into appropriate categories to be implemented, So Voted, (6-1-0), Carlene Gatting voted no.
Tristan Israel, Lenny Jason, and John Alley volunteered to be on the subcommittee.
· The Dukes County Airport Commission will meet Wednesday July 2nd, 2008 at 5:30pm at the Airport Conference Room.
· The Dukes County Commissioners will meet Wednesday July 9th, 2008 at 5pm at the Dukes County Administration Building.
The Commissioners adjourned the meeting at 7 p.m.
Respectfully Submitted by:
JOSEPH E. SOLLITTO JR., Clerk of the Courts