Dukes County Commission Meeting Minutes
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
County Administration Building
Call to Order
Chairman Leonard Jason, Jr. called the County Commissioner’s meeting to order at 5:10 p.m. Commissioners Tristan Israel, John Alley, Melinda Loberg, Tom Hallahan and Carlene Gatting were present.
Also in attendance were County Manager Russell Smith, Executive Assistant Martina Thornton, Nathan Durawa and Joanie Ames of MVTV.
County Manager’s report
Broadband fiber-optic cable
GPCS Fiber Communication Co. is looking to supply fiber-optic cable from Fairhaven to Woods Hole and under water to the island. They are asking for support of this project. Fred Lapiana from Town of Tisbury is communicating with them. The private vendor that was created by Oceanographic Institute to bring the broadband to the university is called Open Cape. Tristan asked if there might be any remuneration advantage to us if we get involved. Russell said that there will be general benefit to the people on the island and there is possibility that if there is a public-private collaborative the public entity might have some revenue share and help access some public funds for economic development. The Board consented for Russell to proceed.
Offshore wind energy development in federal waters
At the last meeting we heard presentation by Burton Hamner about the possibility of forming public-private collaborative to develop offshore technology in federal waters. We since learned that there is a form how to create the public-private collaboration the same as it was done before in Boston under the name “I-cubed”. Mr. Hamner will come to the All-island selectmen’s meeting on September 16th and then we will go to Hyannis to a conference regarding the renewable energy in New England. Tristan said that there will be a public hearing on the draft Ocean Management Plan regarding this issue in Boston on September 14th and he might attend that hearing. He said this is a resent issue on the island as we just heard about it a month ago and the MV Commission did their presentation on the draft Ocean Management Plan to the
public last week. Russell said that this is moving fast and time is of an essence if we are to do something in this matter. Russell showed on a map where the 3-mile state waters end and federal waters start. The developers are looking to go to the federal waters and develop a commercial scale projects there. The waters are open to developers from other states also and we are considering submitting an application for lease of the federal blocks close to the Vineyard to have some say in what will happen there and to have a tie into the business deal from the private company and the federal government.
Offshore wind energy development in state waters
The Ocean Act called for the Ocean Management Plan to be developed. We do have a draft of the Plan and the comments of the MV Commission to the Plan. There are two areas designated for commercial offshore wind, both in Dukes County. The state representatives will come on September 23rd to make a presentation and hold a public hearing on the Plan at the county commissioners request. The county commissioners also received written comments by the MV Commission staff and letter from Mr. Parker asking the MVC to create DCPC. Tom asked if we qualify under the requirements of the “I-cubed” concept and are 1.5% above the state’s average for unemployment. Russell said he did not get to it in detail but we can show the economic development and public-private collaborative, which are other requirements of the concept. We do have the name of
the lawyer who did set it up. Tom offered to sit with Russell and look at it closely and analyze it to make sure we will be eligible. Russell said that as far as leasing the federal Mineral Management Service already developed set of criteria for the process, but the state is still in the process of designating the areas. The prepared state regulations provide an override of local decisions by a state agency. Tristan said that it was called the “40B” of energy and island should develop a lobby on this issue. Looking at the map all the coast of Massachusetts is being excluded from the development except for the coast of Martha’s Vineyard. Another question is what does the word “community” means. Russell said that they are allowing 10 community turbines per regional planning agency. Tristan added that as far as land-based developments they are taking over all the local oversight. Tom asked if Cuttyhunk knows about the public hearing on September 23rd at 6pm. Martina said
that she notified them and they said that they would go to the New Bedford hearing on Tuesday. Russell said he would go to the New Bedford meeting also. Lenny said that he would like to create a collaborative with New Bedford and south costal communities to pursue Mr. Hamner’s plan and apply for the federal leases. It would be further out there and not such a burden and it would provide benefit to the whole region. Tristan said that it might also give us the political clout we need. Lenny also said that the State Ocean Plan is being forced on us and it should be slowed down and ask MV Commission to create the District of Critical Planning Concern. There are economic and cultural values to be protected.
Tristan/Melinda moved to send a letter to the MV Commission to suggest creating the waters surrounding Martha’s Vineyard up to the state demarcation line as DCPC. Tom asked why focus on development in federal waters and not state waters? Lenny said that if we go further out it would have lesser impact on the scenic view. Tom asked how did we get the hearing on the island. Tristan said because we asked for it at the meeting in Oak Bluffs when we had a presentation by Joanne Taylor. So voted. In favor: Tristan, Melinda, Lenny, and Tom. Opposed: John Alley. Motion carries.
Eastville Beach Committee did ask to have their members formally appointed to officially establish it in order to be able to vote and have a quorum. Nominations:
Duncan Ross, Jean Llewelyn, Merle Lincoln, Melinda Loberg, Tristan Israel, David Nash, Barbara Walsh, Margaret Curtain, Russell Smith.
Melinda/Tom moved to appoint nominated members. Discussion: John asked if we will we be able to interview these people. Melinda said the County recruited them in the first place and Tristan added that these people did serve on this committee for two years now. So voted. In favor: Lenny, Tristan, Tom, Melinda. Abstained: John. Motion carries.
Russell said that the committee met this morning and agreement is being finalized regarding with the State Fishing Access Board.
Lenny was asked if the county would be interested to regulate the taxi licenses for the whole island. Tristan said that he has no problem with making standards for regulations and rates. He opposes the county regulating the licensing fees, as having a cab license in Tisbury is more lucrative for the town because of the steamship service. Melinda said she heard that it is very difficult to regulate this and we would be doing the customers a service by looking at it.
Melinda/ Tristan moved to look into finding common ground for regulations and rates for the taxi services on the island. Discussion: John said there was a previous attempt at this and was not successful. In favor: Tristan, Melinda, Tom, Lenny. Opposed: John.
John/Tristan moved to adjourned the meeting at 5.42 p.m.
Respectfully Submitted by:
JOSEPH E. SOLLITTO JR., Clerk of the Courts