Home Port Committee Minutes
October 18, 2005
Chilmark Town Hall
Present: Linda Coutinho, Lenny Jason, Paul H. Mayhew, Rich Osnoss, Doug Sederholm. Public: Andy Goldman, Jane Slater and Mark London.
Minutes of October 11, 2005 were moved and approved unanimously.
The following comments, left in Committee suggestion boxes at the Library, Town Hall and gas station, were read:
*Don’t buy… huge headache and expense. Consider water front lots if available separately. Land Bank may be able to help.
*Pro: Water access for the Town. Control of the building or control with restrictions. Mitigate traffic congestion. Con: Paying too much.
*The Town should buy it. Ideas: conference center to rent for businesses from all over that need a space, and retreats.
*Ridiculous-A tax scam for the owners who have overpriced the property and so have no buyers. Not the use for our tax money. Rather a community swimming pool! *The waterfront property would be an asset to the Town of Chilmark: -control of environment, esp. summer, -income, jobs, etc. if remains a restaurant, -keep in Town “hands”.
A letter from Tim Carroll was read regarding attempts to schedule pest inspection and appraisal. T.J. Hegerty was going to meet with Selectmen to schedule pest inspection. Mr. Sederholm said he spoke with Mr. Carroll this morning; the initial inspector was not able to do it so another was scheduled for Friday, October 21. He said that Riggs Parker will be the contact person regarding the appraisal and inspection and that Friday morning might be a good time for Committee members to tour the site.
Regarding the possibility of separating the parking lot property from the building property, Mr. Jason said that Ron Rappaport indicated that they must go together, although an easement could be created to enable the separation. The dock is on a separate lot and deed, thus may be separated. He was unsure, at this time, of the other lots. If the buildings were torn down, the previous footprint and square footage would determine what could be rebuilt. Single family use would be permitted, it would be a conversion. Same goes for restaurant. It would be O.K. for use as municipal offices. As a rental to businesses or retail/office space, approval must be obtained through the Board of Appeals process. The structure is in the shore zone where an additional 250 square feet is allowed. Regarding the height limitation, Mr. Jason said that there had been litigation regarding previous expansion and that they would be limited to what exists today.
Mr. Sederhom brought up the issue of losing shoreline to the sea over time and that in one hundred years the property in that area might be susceptible to that. Mr. Osnoss said that in a hundred years, a site might be needed if windmill generated energy is required. Mr. Mayhew said that there is plenty of wind in that area.
Mr. London listed potential public benefits of purchase: Parking, waterfront and pond in back. Any non-profit use will cost the Town more. There are thirty-three parking spaces. If those are lost, what will happen as a result? What is the value to Town? Regarding the building: what might be its commercial use and value? What might be the value of the rental income? What is the value of the waterfront, both in usage and monetarily?
There was discussion as to the benefits and detriments to traffic and parking should the property be sold to a private party for use as a house. Losing the thirty-plus spaces in the lot but gaining the thirteen along the road seemed not to slant the benefits very much in one direction or the other. Things might work better after 4 p.m., due to loss of restaurant traffic but worse before that time, due to loss of (net) twenty spaces.
Ms. Slater described some of the present uses of parking spaces: access for food market, mail, Aquinnah Ferry, sunset boat trips and charter fishermen.
Mr. Jason stated that the most valuable aspect of the property appeared to be parking and shoreline access.
All agreed that the three aspects of the property are parking, the structure and waterfront. There should be a differentiation made between the benefit of public uses, (not generating income), and the value of business uses, (generating income).
Mr. Osnoss stated that he felt that the Committee should advocate for and present all possibilities, pro and con so that the public receives information in an objective manner.
It was agreed that its location near the waterfront in Menemsha, valued for its old fishing village character, made the property more unique than other properties that go on the market from time to time. Future use as a park and water access is valuable, but the cost might be a stumbling block.
The topic of the potential use of CPA money was discussed. Mr. Goldman said that there are provisions to use CPA funds for recreation, active and/or passive, (kayak launch/landing), historic preservation, (property has been a restaurant for seventy-two years), open space, commercial fishing and related uses and/or affordable housing. Eighty percent of funds are committed for housing but CPC funds could play a role in supporting the goal of considering Menemsha remaining a fishing port. The best CPC fund support scenario might be $500,000. Adding that amount to the potential rental income of the property of over $100,000 per year could lessen the cost of the property to taxpayers.
thMr. Osnoss said he would work on the handout for the Public Meeting on October 25.
Included will be a map and cost of the property. Also, there will be a list of pros and cons of purchase or non-purchase. It was estimated that fifty copies will be needed. Mr. London said that he would try to provide a large, color, Pictometry International map of the vicinity of the property with the help of Chris in the Martha’s Vineyard Commission office.
Meeting adjourned at 8:54 p.m. Minutes respectfully submitted by Richard Osnoss. Minutes moved and approved unanimously, (Ms. Coutinho absent), at October 25th, 2005 Committee Meeting.