May in Town From the Desk of Town Manager Libby Gibson.

2019 Annual Town Meeting and Town Election

Annual Town Meeting

The 2019 Annual Town Meeting (“ATM”) began on Monday, April 1, 2019 and concluded on Tuesday, April 2nd. Of the 87 articles on the warrant, 17 were ultimately called for discussion (several were initially called but then the calls were withdrawn). Several of the articles seeking appropriation for capital projects were called and discussed (and all of them were approved). Some were not called and were approved. A citizen article seeking an appropriation for affordable housing purposes was approved, contingent upon a debt exclusion, for $20,000,000. Few zoning articles were discussed and all were acted upon as recommended by the Planning Board. Click here to view the warrant and here to view a summary of the votes taken.

All bylaw amendments that were approved, including zoning, will require Attorney General approval to be effective. The Home Rule Petitions that were adopted will require the approval of the state legislature to become effective. Following Town Meeting, I reviewed follow-up actions with the Select Board. Several items have been completed, while a number of items are on-going.

During and following Town Meeting a couple of questions have arisen about some of the actions taken, I wanted to explain them, because we have received them several times:

Q. Didn’t Town Meeting previously vote to deny the proposed round-about at Fairgrounds/Old South Road? Why was it on the warrant, again?

A. The 2018 ATM voted to approve Article 15 (Old South Road Area Transportation Improvements) (proposed scope included a round-about at Old South-Fairgrounds) for $14,000,000 (vote was Yes – 405; No – 115). The vote was contingent upon a ballot vote for a debt exclusion at the 2018 Annual Town Election. That vote, failed. (Debt exclusions require affirmative votes of both Town Meeting and an Election). Subsequently, the Board decided to split the project in two, with two articles on the October 10, 2018 Special Town Meeting I warrant: Article 6 (Old South Road Area Transportation Improvements) for $5.1 million and Article 7 (Milestone Road Area Transportation Improvements) for $7.6 million. Both articles were contingent upon ballot votes for debt exclusions at an Election on November 6, 2018. Special Town Meeting appropriations require a quorum of voters and the quorum was not achieved, therefore action was not able to be taken on the articles. The vote on the ballot questions was invalid without a town meeting vote. THEN, the Board decided to narrow the scope of the projects to transportation improvements on Old South Road from Milestone Road to Amelia Drive, along Fairgrounds Road to Newtown Road, along Newtown Road; and, the proposed round-about at Fairgrounds Road and Old South Road. This became Article 11 of the 2019 Annual Town Meeting, for an appropriation of $5.2 million, subject to a ballot question for a debt exclusion at the April 9, 2019 Town Election. The article was approved by Town Meeting (Yes – 458; No – 161); however, it failed at the Election.

Q. Did Town Meeting vote to approve the Stop signs on Surfside Road at Bartlett Road?

A. Article 34, a citizen-sponsored article to appropriate funds to install the Stop signs, was approved (yes: 184; no: 157). Only the Select Board can approve traffic regulations, including the addition (or removal) of Stop signs. Following Town Meeting, and acting in good faith, the Board voted to install the Stop signs on a temporary basis. The signs will be evaluated at a public hearing on June 5, 2019 and the Board will determine whether to keep them installed.

Annual Town Election

Several of the capital appropriation articles approved at Town Meeting were contingent upon ballot votes. These items were on the April 9, 2019 Annual Town Election warrant – click here for the results. Incumbent Select Member Matt Fee was re-elected to the Board and Kristie Ferrantella replaced Jim Kelly who did not seek re-election. We re-welcome Matt, welcome Kristie and extend best wishes and thanks to Jim.

Incumbent Select Member Matt Fee and Newly elected Select Member Kristie Ferrantella at Swearing-In Ceremony.

The Board and the Finance Committee will have a joint meeting on May 13, 2019 at 4:00pm at the 4 Fairgrounds Road Public Safety Facility to review what went well, what did not, and what lessons we learned from the 2019 Annual Town Meeting experience. The public is welcome to attend this meeting.

In other Town Admin news:

Last month, we had a pre-season beach meeting with all applicable town departments (as well as reps from the Land Bank and Conservation Foundation) to review preparations for the coming beach season, confirm that any issues which arose at the post-season beach meeting have been/will be addressed, and to ensure that any activities that need to be coordinated between departments, are coordinated. Members of the public are welcome to use the Town’s “Beach Hotline” at 508-228-7261 to report issues concerning beaches. We should point out that sometimes beach issues occur at non-Town beaches and while the Town may sometimes be able to assist with these, they may need to be addressed by the property owner (often Land Bank or the Foundation). Nonetheless, we encourage use of this number and we can at least provide you with information.

We are preparing our annual Water Quality Initiatives Update for presentation to the Board. This year’s presentation of Town water quality projects, programs, plans and initiatives is scheduled for May 22.

We have a number of plans we are working on currently, including:

  • Coastal Resiliency Plan
  • Hazard Mitigation Plan
  • Landfill Master Plan
  • Parks & Recreation Master Plan
  • Sewer Master Plan
  • Strategic Plan

Some of these are completed plans and we are working to implement them; others need to be completed or updated.

A number of projects are underway, including:

  • Harbormaster Building renovation – design (when design is complete, bids will be issued and construction will follow – stay tuned on this!)
  • Town Pier renovations (going back out to bid shortly, anticipate work to begin immediately after Labor Day and be completed in time for the 2020 summer season)
  • New Fire Station is nearly complete – we are planning an Open House for Saturday, June 15th – more on this soon!
  • Parking Demand Management program – in a “nutshell”, the Select Board’s Strategic Plan calls for this and we are working toward implementation for the summer of 2020.

There are NUMEROUS roadway projects occurring this spring – we are providing routine updates at Board meetings and on-line as to where and when they are occurring. As predicted, there is a generous amount of local grumbling about these projects – unfortunately for all of us, there is a short window of opportunity between “too many people here” and “too cold” in order for the necessary work to be done. We apologize and sympathize (we have to drive these roads too, we get caught up in unexpected detours too) and ask respectfully for your patience.

Upcoming Board agenda items that we are preparing for in May and June (dates not quite firmed up yet):

  • Solid Waste Stream Disposal/Hauler Concerns – May 8
  • Nantucket Select Board will be hosting the Cape Cod & Islands Selectmen’s Association monthly meeting on May 10
  • Senior Center Work Group update – May TBD
  • Status report on Downtown Sidewalk Improvement Project historic preservation process/guidelines – May 22
  • Annual Committee appointments – June 19 (You have time to apply until May 16!)

Nantucket at the State House

From left to right: Town of Nantucket Natural Resources Director Jeff Carlson, Senator Cyr, Nantucket residents Tobias Glidden, Ray DeCosta, Bob DeCosta, Pete Kaizer.

On Tuesday, April 23, Natural Resources Director Jeff Carlson attended a Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture hearing to provide comments in support of House Bill 777, sponsored by Rep. Fernandes, and Senate bill 445, sponsored by Senator Cyr. This bill is aimed at restricting certain mobile fishing gear types out to three miles off of the coast of Nantucket. Over 90% of the Commonwealth has the same restriction. Mr. Carlson spoke on the importance of protecting the benthic environment (sea floor) and water quality as these areas are significant for foraging and breeding animals during the late-spring/early-fall.

Coastal Resilience Efforts

On April 25th, the Town of Nantucket received notification that we have been designated as a Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Community for the completion of the Community Resilience Building process as recommended by the State’s Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA). This process started in July 2018, with a State MVP Planning Grant of $22,000 to complete a town-wide vulnerability assessment and develop an action-oriented resiliency plan using the MVP framework (adapted from work done by the Nature Conservancy).

In January 2019 Nantucket hosted a MVP Workshop with a group of more than 50 stakeholders from across the community, businesses and Town departments. It was a full day workshop and the information was assembled in a draft report. A public listening session was held on March 28th for expanded review and input of the draft workshop report by the community. A few items were clarified and expanded based on that listening session. The final report was submitted to the State for approval after the listening session. HERE you can find the final report.

Nantucket is now eligible to receive State MVP Action Grants to address the priority needs identified in the workshop report. Alongside this document, the Town recently completed its update to the FEMA-based Hazard Mitigation Plan and has a priority list of recommended actions or projects. Many of the Hazard Mitigation Plan activities/projects are congruent with actions identified in the MVP report. Town departments are working together to coordinate projects, and a tracking system is being developed to provide visibility into the identified actions/projects and the current and future grant opportunities, both at the state and federal level. The 2019 Hazard Mitigation Plan lists 55 recommended actions/ projects for the Town and at the last review, 20% are underway or complete.

The MVP designation needs to be renewed or updated annually, including the submission of a status report to the State. The MVP designation provides improved standing when seeking State grants, including MVP Action Grants, Coastal Resilience Grants, Planning Assistance Grants, Pollution Remediation Grants, and others.

Sconset waves during Winter Storm Riley - March 2018

Showcasing some of the recent work done by Nantucket for coastal and community resilience, there are two workshops planned for the end of June:

Great Ponds Management Principles Forum

Last Thursday at the PSF Conference Room, close to 40 people attended the forum and had a positive discussion about the current conditions of the Great Ponds and potential management options going forward. Starting this summer, these management strategies will be vetted through public forums specific to each water body and with vetted options being included in the Water Quality Plan due to the Select Board by the end of 2020.

April afternoon at Town Pier

Nantucket Harbor Shimmo & Plus Areas Sewer Extension Project

The Town of Nantucket recently completed construction of sewer lines for the Nantucket Harbor Shimmo & Plus Parcels Sewer Extension Project, providing municipal sewer connection to the Surfside Wastewater Treatment Facility for the Nantucket Harbor Shimmo area and four (4) Plus Parcel areas as follows:

  • Meadow View Drive
  • Green Meadows Drive
  • Bayberry Lane
  • Tashama/Maclean Lane

With only surface restoration, final paving and miscellaneous punch list items remaining for completion this spring, fronted property owners have been notified that they should now be making arrangements to connect to the municipal sewer and decommission their existing on-site septic systems.

As the process shifts from municipal construction to connections on private property, the Nantucket Sewer Department held an informational public meeting at the Public Safety Facility Community Room on Thursday, April 11th at 6PM. The main purpose of the meeting was for representatives from various Town Departments as well as the Town’s engineering consultants to go over the process and logistics of connecting to the municipal sewer.

As all properties in the Nantucket Harbor Shimmo area and some in the Plus Parcel areas (i.e. Friendship Lane, Marsh Hawk Lane, Bayberry Lane, Ticcoma Way, Dooley Court, and Rugged Road) will require an on-lot residential grinder pump to connect to the municipal sewer, representatives of the grinder pump manufacturer were also in attendance to answer questions on the pumps themselves.

If you have any questions with regard to the municipal sewer project or connecting to the sewer, please call the Nantucket Sewer Department at (508) 228-7200 ext. 7801 and/or check out our project website at Nantucket Harbor Shimmo & PLUS Areas Sewer Project.

Natural Resources Department News

Did you know that it takes 8 weeks to reproduce oysters? During the winter months, Shellfish Biologist Tara Riley and Assistant Biologist Leah Cabral have been "tricking" oysters to believe its spring time and they should start reproducing. The first batch of oysters started conditioning in January. They have already spawned around 400 oysters. One spawn can result in 200+ million eggs!

There is only one species of oyster grown on the East Coast; it is called the Eastern/Atlantic oyster. Easter Oysters are either male or female but they usually start their life as males and change into females.

Brant Point Hatchery

There is only one species of oyster grown on the East Coast; it is called the Eastern/Atlantic oyster. Eastern Oysters are either male or female but they usually start their life as males and change into females.

At the hatchery, Tara and Leah set 2.5 million baby oysters on scallop shells that will grow in the outside tanks for the summer and be deployed on the oyster restoration site in Shimmo Creek.

Oysters are fed algae that is grown at the hatchery. The purple lights you will see in the video are the algae grow lights. Oyster larvae stay in the hatchery until they are between 16 and 21 days old. During that time, they grow a foot and are ready to attach to an oyster shell. Once they attach to the oyster shell, they remain there for the rest of their life and are grown in tanks outside of the hatchery that pump harbor water in and out of the tanks. This can be accomplished thanks to the Natural Resources Department Shellfish Recycling Program.

Welcome Newest Town Employees!

Thaïs Fournier

Thaïs Fournier is the Town of Nantucket’s Water Resource Specialist. Originally from Fall River, MA, Thaïs is a coastal ecologist whose international research has taken her oversees from New Zealand to work on conservation of overharvested shellfish, and to an archipelago in Mexico assessing the effects of climate and marine input on terrestrial communities. Thaïs also spent two years in Rwanda teaching biology with the U.S. Peace Corps.

Thaïs gained a B.S. in Biology from the University of New Hampshire and was later awarded a M.S. in Marine Science from the University of San Diego, where she concentrated on habitat connectivity amongst coastal communities. Early in her career, Thaïs worked in several National Estuarine Research Reserves monitoring invasive species in coastal habitats and human-induced effects related to climate change. Thaïs has a strong commitment to integrating outreach and education throughout her scientific career; she has spent time at the Mystic Aquarium in CT where she cared for California sea lions while providing marine mammal education to the community. Additionally, she has led middle school and high school students on outdoor interpretive ecology programs as a Naturalist.

Before joining Nantucket’s Natural Resources Department in March 2019, Thaïs worked at the Environmental Protection Agency Headquarters in Washington, D.C. where she spent her time characterizing the potential impacts of biosolids on human and environmental health. Thaïs is excited to begin her field season monitoring and sampling the beautiful waters of Nantucket. Outside of her research, you can find Thaïs attempting to make vegan desserts that actually taste good, riding her bike around the island, and attending polka festivals with her 90-year-old Baci.

Ken Beaugrand

We are pleased to welcome Ken Beaugrand to the Town of Nantucket! Ken is our new Real Estate Specialist.

Ken holds a BA from Brown University; a Juris Doctor degree from Columbia University; and a Master's degree in International Law from the University of London. In 1994, he moved to Nantucket and purchased Nantucket Real Estate Co. which he owned until merging it with Atlantic East in January of 2011.

As a member of the community, Ken has been:

  • President of the Nantucket Chamber of Commerce;
  • Director of Housing Nantucket and a current member of the Housing Stakeholder group, and a supporter of affordable housing initiatives for the last twenty years;
  • First Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Westmoor Club;
  • Former Vice President, trustee and Chair of the Properties Committee and the Strategic Planning Committee of the Nantucket Historical Association;
  • Senior Warden and a current Vestry member of St Paul's church;
  • Initial member and current Chair of the Nantucket Community Preservation Committee;
  • Past President and Current President of the Nantucket Associations of Real Estate Brokers;
  • Current Director and Chair of the Nantucket Preservation Trust;
  • Current Trustee of the Union Lodge;
  • Current President of the Nantucket Rotary Club

May is Bike Celebration Month!

Follow these tips and have fun safely while biking Nantucket's more than 35 miles of bike path!

  • If you are driving downtown, drive on the street. It is forbidden for bikers to ride on the sidewalk.
  • Always follow traffic flow! Do not ride on the wrong side.
  • When you are on a bike path, ride slowly. Most of Nantucket's paths are multi-use paths and are shared by riders and pedestrians alike.
  • If you are biking at night, remember to have a light on at the front and bike reflectors on the rear.
  • It is obligatory for any person 12 years or older to use a helmet while riding a bike. Nonetheless, everybody should wear a helmet!
  • Stay alert! Do not use headphones.
  • Always stop at the Stop signs.

Nantucket has been ranked as a SILVER Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists.

Landscape Uplighting

A citizen recently inquired about a detectable increase in landscaping “uplighting”. This seemingly increasing trend is in fact not allowed by general bylaw (chapter 139, section 102-4). This local outdoor lighting bylaw was approved by voters at the 2005 Annual Town Meeting.

Appropriate outdoor lighting at night increases safety, enhances the town’s nighttime character, and provides security. However, light trespass reduces privacy, light exposure to ecosystems is known to interfere with the circadian rhythms of plants and animals, and light pollution diminishes the view of the night sky. As we enter into the summer season, please keep in mind some of the requirements of our local bylaw:

  • Uplighting is only permitted to light local, state, or national flags.
  • Fixtures for driveway and landscape lighting must have opaque tops to prevent uplighting.
  • Floodlighting is only permitted when it is down-directed and fully-shielded. Motion sensors shall be utilized to limit the duration of nighttime illumination.
  • All architectural lighting must comply with relevant Historic District Commission guidelines.
  • For more detailed information, please review Chapter 102 of the Code of the Town of Nantucket or contact the Lighting Enforcement Officer, Marcus Silverstein, at msilverstein@nantucket-ma.gov.

Parks & Recreation Master Plan: We want to hear from YOU!

The Town of Nantucket has undertaken a town-wide Parks and Recreation Master Plan effort to understand the current and future needs, condition of existing facilities, and identify priorities for improvements. Consultant Weston & Sampson continues to gather information and input from stakeholders and the general public through various outreach opportunities with the goal of publishing the report in summer of 2019.

Once the town-wide Parks and Recreation Master Plan is published, the first identified priority to move forward with improvements will be the Tom Nevers Field. Please contact the DPW Office at (508) 228-7244 ext. 0 or send an email to DPW@nantucket-ma.gov if you have questions.

Town of Nantucket - 16 Broad Street Nantucket, MA 02554

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