Town Committee on Squibnocket
December 16, 2014
Chilmark Town Hall Selectmen’s Meeting Room
Present: Jim Malkin (Chair), Ron Rappaport, Billy Meegan, Allison Burger, Janet Weidner, Steven Flanders, Dan Greenbaum
Also Present: David Damroth, Rosalie Hornblower, Jay Walsh
Minutes of December 9, 2014 approved
Public Information Meeting: Jim Malkin discussed how to structure the upcoming public information meeting, which will be held at the Chilmark Community Center on December 18, 2014 at 7pm. He noted that the SFHA has indicated they will work with the process, and that Charlie Parker has made inquiries about the proposed elevation of the low causeway. The Committee’s intent, of a height that would limit wash-overs to several per year, would, according to one of the engineers consulted by the Committee, might result in a causeway between four and six feet high.
Jim Malkin felt that if people are dealing in good faith with this process, agreement will be possible. He expressed some concern that the 90-day timeframe in the Committee’s Recommendation for this agreement to be reached might be too long. This would mean waiting until May 9th to determine whether agreement can be reached on the preferred option, but he stressed that if people are at all willing to reach agreement, it should not take as much as 90 days to do so, given the many months of intensive work preceding the formulation of the Committee’s recommendation.
Ron Rappaport noted that it would be very helpful to have reached agreement on the Committee’s recommendation prior to the Annual Town Meeting, which will be towards the end of April 2015. Jim Malkin felt that if the upcoming Special Town Meeting approves of the Committee’s recommendation, and the deadline for reaching agreement allows for it, the Annual Town Meeting in April could vote on warrant articles required for implementation of the project. Billy Meegan also noted that, should it prove impossible to reach agreement on the Committee’s preferred option, the Annual Town Meeting might be able to rescue the preferred option in some way. He noted that he would feel uncomfortable about having to revert to the other option, since it was too similar to what the Town had already indicated it does not want.
Jim Malkin reminded the Committee that the main objections voiced by voters regarding the original proposal had been that they felt they were being presented with a fait accompli, that there were concerns about the visual impact, and about the environmental impact. The Committee has now thoroughly and publically examined a broad range of proposals in great detail, and on the basis of this work has reached a really good solid proposal. If someone wished to drag out the process, they should not be given the open door to do it. If people are unable to reach agreement by May 9th, then they are not working in good faith.
David Damroth commented that the original proposal had had some real weaknesses, which are addressed in the Committee’s recommendation. He urged the Committee to feel confident in that the solution they have proposed is very clearly a good solution. Rosalie Hornblower sincerely thanked the Committee for its work.
Set-up of the public information meeting Jim Malkin outlined the set-up, with the Committee seated at a long table in front of the hall. Everett Poole has agreed to moderate the Q & A. Jim Malkin urged Committee members to actively involve themselves in answering questions from the public. A copy of the slide showing a map-view of both options side by side will be provided, and the audience will be given a pen and urged to write questions to be handed to the moderator. Jim Malkin will go through the power point presentation and speak to the issues (rather than reading out the text on the slides).
Comments and changes to the power point presentation Jim Malkin reminded the Committee that the slide presentation is not the recommendation itself, merely an aid in describing the recommendation, and that therefore the wording on the slides does not have to be parsed to the last detail.
The Committee then reviewed the draft slide presentation. In the context of a slide detailing the “Process for the Town”, the Committee again addressed the question of the length of time to be set within which to determine whether the parties directly involved can reach agreement on the Committee’s recommendation. The Committee amended the slide on this point as follows: “The Committee recommends that the Town use its best efforts to reach agreements to proceed with the Committee recommendation so as to have appropriate implementing warrant articles for the Annual Town Meeting on 27 April 2015.” The Committee unanimously approved the amendment.
The Committee also discussed whether the power point should make reference to the possibility of a dune which could be considered if it should turn out that wash overs of the access road are more frequent than anticipated. Some members felt that this mention was unnecessary, as such a decision will be up to those dealing with the future situation, while others felt the inclusion would be useful. Dan pointed out that should over washes be more frequent, the future construction of a dune is one possible option that could be considered to address the problem. The Committee decided by a vote of six in favor to one against (Allison Burger) to strike reference to a possible future dune from the slide labeled “Future Guidance”, and that the question of a dune would be addressed verbally should the question arise.
The next meeting of the Committee will be on Monday, December 22, 2014 at 8am.
The meeting adjourned at 09:15
Approved as amended December 22, 2014