Town Committee on Squibnocket
September 23, 2014
Chilmark Town Hall Selectmen’s Meeting Room
Present: Jim Malkin (Chair), Allison Burger, Steve Flanders, Billy Meegan, Jane Slater, Janet Weidner, Dan Greenbaum, Ron Rappaport
Also Present: Margaret Maida, Clarissa Allen, Jennifer Wlodyka, Barbara Lee, David Damroth, Jay Walsh, Wendy Weldon, Chris Murphy, Michelle Lasser, Lawrence J. Lasser, Bill Cunningham, Kristin Maloney others unspecified
Minutes of September 16, 2014: The Committee made a correction and asked Marina Lent to confirm the accuracy of the discussion of the number of trucks potentially involved in delivery of sand for dune (re)construction. The Committee approved the minutes contingent on confirmation from the audio recording. Upon checking the audio, John Ramsey said “You’re looking at 650 trucks.”
Ron Rappaport asked questions about the sourcing and transport and cost-options for sand to be trucked in for dune construction. Jim Malkin urged Committee members to collect their questions, including questions on any of the proposals under review, so that they can be sent to the appropriate experts for review all at once. He also reminded the Committee that the Committee has been asked to develop a recommendation – or a selection of recommendations—for review by the Board of Selectmen. While a submitted proposal may feature in such a recommendation, the Committee is not limited to recommended proposals in formulating its conclusions on the issues in its remit, namely: access to Squibnocket Farms, a town beach, and the associated beach parking lot.
Beach Committee: Kristin Maloney of the Chilmark Beach Committee read into the record the concerns and concepts of the Beach Committee with regards to Squibnocket Beach. The Beach Committee feels it is important to maintain the currently leased beachfront as it is the best area for swimming. The Beach Committee also recommended removal of the revetment; removal of former bulkhead rocks; removal of remaining wooden pilings; and removal of boulders that have dropped to the beach from Money Hill. They also felt that having the parking lot close to the swimming area of the beach is highly desirable, and recommended that the Squibnocket Committee investigate purchasing land above the pond for a parking area that could be landscaped to minimize visual impact; they felt that a single
lane is preferable to two lanes on a bridge; and they stressed that the beach access road and parking lot should to the extent possible be in a separate location from the homeowners’ access road.
Jim Malkin thanked the Beach Committee for a very helpful and constructive contribution to the Committee. He noted that contributions attempting to disqualify other proposals are far less useful. Jane Slater asked whether the addition of additional beach area would increase the appeal of Squibnocket Beach to townspeople; Margaret Maida responded that, while it would be welcome, unless an additional section of beach was actually swimmable, it would probably not add significantly to the number of beachgoers. Jane Slater then inquired about the adequacy of the current parking lot. Beach Committee members noted that, in previous years when bathing conditions were good, the parking lot was often filled to capacity, with cars waiting or being turned away. They also noted that
the appeal of Squibnocket Beach is the easy access, and that some people unable to use the stairs are happy to be able to sit at the edge of the parking lot overlooking the beach. A drop-off near the beach, and conveniently-located parking lot would facilitate people’s enjoyment of this important Town asset. Billy Meegan asked for clarification of the Beach Committee’s view of the parking lot proposal that came before Town Meeting. The Beach Committee does not endorse the parking lot within the Squibnocket Farms area: to the extent possible, the Beach Committee feels the parking lot should be located separately from Squibnocket Farms.
Larry Lasser of the SFHA clarified the question of the single- vs. double-lane roadway: the original proposed roadway put forward by SFHA was to have been a single-lane roadway; as discussions with the Town over the beach and parking lot developed, the Selectmen felt that two lanes would be needed to accommodate beach traffic in the summer. But the original SFHA proposal was for a single-lane roadway. Alison Burger asked whether there was usage of beach in the Squibnocket area that the Town does not lease; Larry Lasser replied that the Squibnocket homeowners had always been tolerant of beachgoer “spillover”. The Beach Committee expressed appreciation of this approach.
Questions and Answers from the Conservation Commission: Jim Malkin reported that he and Alison Burger had attended a meeting of the ConCom and discussed the following questions: Are the wetlands delineated by the FoS LLC the same as the delineations used by the ConCom? The ConCom said it was not. It clarified that any applicant bringing forward a specific proposal will have to provide a delineation specific to that proposal which will be reviewed by the ConCom. The Commission also clarified that the permissibility of filling in 5,000 ft2 of wetland without remediation as presented in the FoS LLC proposal is not a given: permission can be granted by the permitting authorities to fill in up to 5,000 ft2—but this permission is not automatically
granted by right. (Permitting authorities include the ConCom, Mass DEP, and possibly others). The ConCom was asked to review the wetlands delineation questions and answers re: the FOS delineation methodology and said that it would do so. Finally, the ConCom was asked about the town’s history in dealing with applicants that needed to cross wetlands to get acess to their homes. The ConCom stated that they had gone from approving culverts and then to box culverts and then to bridges. The example of Dennis Jason’s property was given.
Implementation Matrix: Dan Greenbaum and Janet Weidner have been collaborating in creating both an outline of criteria by which to assess proposals under review, and a matrix which show what measures would have to be achieved in order to implement a given proposal. They felt that there is sufficient overlap in their projects that they can be consolidated into one, and they hope to be able to present the results to the Committee’s next meeting.
Scope of Services for Experts: Jane Slater and Dan Greenbaum have developed a scope of services for experts willing to assist the Committee with its work. The Committee unanimously approved a motion to accept the scope of services as presented.
Communications: Jim Malkin noted that the Committee has just received a letter from the SFHA, which will be appended to the next meeting Agenda of the Committee. The letter offers to have experts working on their proposal hold discussions with experts working on the FoS LLC proposal in an effort to identify areas of agreement and any differences. He welcomed this initiative and asked if an FOS representative was present to speak to that offer. There was no FOS representative present to respond. He also urged Committee members to send any additional questions re: proposals to him, so that a single, compiled list of questions could be sent to relevant experts and/or proponents of specific proposals, rather than having questions trickle in over time.
Bill Meegan reported that he and Steve Flanders are identifying Island-based people who can help with assessing costs. The Committee discussed the costs presented for the FoS LLC proposal.
Chris Murphy urged the Committee to travel to Duxbury to look at their solution. Steve Flanders commented that one of the experts working with the Board of Selectmen on the town proposal for Squibnocket had said at Town Meeting that the Duxbury solution wouldn’t work at Squibnocket. While some features of their situation may be similar, other relevant features, such as wave energy and sand movement, may be significantly different. Jim Malkin said he had been to Duxbury and thought the wave action and sand distribution were different than that at Squibnocket. Chris Murphy clarified that the process by which the Town of Duxbury had reached its solution seemed to set an example that might benefit Chilmark, and he urged Committee members to study the Order of Conditions of the Duxbury
Wetlands Protection Law that he had sent to the Committee.
Alison Burger asked Ron Rappaport how landward dune migration would affect landownership in the immediately affected area. Mr. Rappaport replied that this question is unresolved at present, and that much remains to be clarified as to whether filled-in Great Pond areas will be considered private or public.
In response to a question from the floor, Jim Malkin closed the meeting with the observation that, according to the open meeting law, the agenda of a meeting taking place next Tuesday will be posted by close of business on Thursday, and that interested parties should check the Squibnocket page on the Town of Chilmark website for further information regarding subsequent meetings of the Committee.
The meeting was adjourned at 09:02.
Approved as amended October 7 2014