What's up in Town Administration?
Saturday, June 5, 2021 Annual Town Meeting
The Finance Committee has completed its motions and comments to the Warrant articles; the Planning Board has completed its motions and comments to the Zoning articles and the Select Board has made comments on various Warrant articles. These are compiled into the Warrant booklet that will be mailed to all voters before Town Meeting. Meanwhile, we are working on finalizing our preparations for an outdoor Town Meeting; working on videos to explain warrant articles that require ballot questions; preparing the Voter’s Guide to the 2021 Annual Town Meeting; and other outreach about the Town Meeting. We are planning a public information session for Tuesday, May 18, 2021 at 5:00 pm on-line (link will be made available on the Town website shortly) to review the “mechanics” of how Town Meeting will be run this year, including how to submit an amendment; and, the Finance Committee has scheduled a public information session to answer questions about its motions for Monday, May 24, 2021 at 4:00 pm.
Reminder: Town Meeting will be outdoors this year, under tents and with electronic handheld voting devices (these are only for voters who are present) and without a projection screen. We will have to handle amendments and other issues the “old fashioned” way. In addition to a water bottle, snacks, sunscreen, and your Town Meeting warrant booklet, please bring your Patience with you to Town Meeting.
Other activities with which Town Admin has been busy:
The annual beach management preparation update will be provided to the Board at its May 19th meeting.
- Parking: Valet Parking will be available at the Candle Street location this summer. Parking restrictions that were temporarily relaxed last summer will be back in effect this summer. Parking is expected to be challenging this summer with an expected increase in visitors and seasonal residents, as well as outdoor dining on certain sidewalks with parking spaces not available, and at least a couple of streets closed. Please review your options for getting into Town without a vehicle. There will be a NRTA commuter shuttle route with parking at the 2 Fairgrounds parking lot designed for people who work downtown and a Park & Ride at the Nantucket Middle School parking lot for commuters who could get to and from work on the Mid-Island Wave shuttle.
- Town Offices Re-opening Plan: We are in the process of finalizing a phased re-opening plan for Town offices. We hope to have it out by mid-May. We are keeping an eye on what other towns are doing (it’s very mixed, with a majority not fully open to the public) and the DPW is busy installing safety measures. Meanwhile, the public is being served via email, video meetings, telephone, and in-person appointments as needed.
PFAS (Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances)
Last Call – Nantucket property owners with private wells are eligible to participate in a program for laboratory analyses of drinking water samples for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) at no charge, under the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) Private Wells PFAS Sampling Program. Nantucket was recently added to the list of more than 80 towns in Massachusetts identified for this voluntary PFAS testing program.
MassDEP and the UMass contractor are planning to collect samples on Nantucket in late-May. To be considered, you must submit your information via a MassDEP Notice of Interest Application Form available here: https://dwp-pfas.madwpdep.org/ This webpage also has links to find additional information.
MassDEP will work with its UMass contractor, local Boards of Health, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, and other local partners to identify private wells in each town for potential PFAS analysis based on geographic distribution within the town and/or proximity to potential sources of PFAS. MassDEP/UMass contactor/local partners will contact the identified well owners and offer the opportunity to sign up for free PFAS sampling. Approximately 40 wells will then be selected in each town for PFAS drinking water lab analysis. The UMass contactor/local partners will contact the selected well owners to arrange for sampling.
Homeowners may find additional information about PFAS and private well testing on the Town’s website.
Update – The Town of Nantucket and CDM Smith are working with MassDEP to clarify the scope and testing protocols to be considered in the Phase 2 PFAS Assessment on Nantucket. MassDEP is providing guidance and sample documents from other projects to reference as best practices. A Phase 2 scope will be finalized in May. The Preliminary PFAS Assessment final report was delivered to the Town in March 2021 and can be obtained here. Any questions may be directed to PFAS@Nantucket-ma.gov.
Nantucket's Efforts to Stop the Spread of COVID-19
Summer of 2021
As we move rapidly toward this summer, we are keeping an eye on state guidance and requirements; local, state and national COVID positivity rates; local vaccination numbers; and we are working with other groups and agencies, including the Chamber of Commerce and the Town’s Economic Task Force to get messaging out about what to expect this summer and ways to to keep our Island safe. We are hoping to hire a seasonal COVID inspector/educator as soon as possible, to focus on COVID education and enforcement efforts.
Economic Task Force
In March, the Town provided a grant of $154,500 to the Nantucket Island Chamber of Commerce to fund grants to small businesses to help support their recovery from the economic impact of the pandemic. Managed by the Chamber’s Nantucket Island Center for Entrepreneurship, the grant review team awarded funds to 26 small businesses on island. Grants will be used to purchase equipment for outdoor dining, to upgrade e-commerce for retailers, and to provide contactless purchase/payment for safer transactions. For more information, visit the Chamber’s website at nantucketchamber.org.
Last February several members of the Economic Task Force wrote a grant proposal to the Massachusetts Office of Business Development’s Regional Pilot Grant Program. Earlier this month, the grant recipients were announced and included Nantucket’s application. The grant required that Nantucket find a regional partner to develop a program, so we turned to our colleagues on Martha’s Vineyard. The program will be administered by the Nantucket Chamber in collaboration with the Martha’s Vineyard Chamber of Commerce and with the support of the Town of Nantucket and the Dukes County Commission. The $175,000 grant, “Tap into Technology,” will be used to assist 8 businesses on each island to select the appropriate technology to help their business create a virtual presence. Each business will have an industry partner on the other island to provide a “user group” experience as they move forward with implementing technology to support their enterprises and recover from the economic impact of the pandemic. Details on the Tap into Technology program are available from the Chamber.
The Task Force has also provided feedback on the contents of the Town’s Summer 2021 website page, wrote a letter to the Select Board to support outdoor dining, sent a letter to the Editor of the Inquirer and Mirror, and has been brainstorming ways to provide family activities in town during early evening hours this summer.
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Office: First Two Months
DEI Director, Kimal McCarthy, started on March 1st and has hit the ground running. McCarthy is meeting with Town departments and employees, offering ideas and inputs on an array of topics such as the Massachusetts police reform legislation (Bill S.2963), and he continues to research best practices for this new position in Town government. Working with colleagues across departments, Kimal wrote the mission statement for the DEI Office and helped to redesign the Office’s webpage on the Town website. On March 25th, the DEI Office released a solidarity statement for Asian American Pacific Islanders (AAPI) on Nantucket and across the country after the tragic acts of violence that took place in Atlanta, Georgia against the AAPI community on March 16, 2021.
Kimal has completed two training sessions with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination and has also attended several webinars including Establishing Inclusion as a Value offered by the International City Managers’ Association and Stand Up Against Street Harassment offered by the organization Hollaback!. McCarthy has also been working with the Nantucket Civic League, Women Engage in Civic Action on Nantucket (WE CAN), and Nantucket Equity Advocates (NEA) on ways to encourage public service participation. In the last weeks of April, Kimal was a guest speaker at the Community Foundation for Nantucket and at the Rotary Club of Nantucket. McCarthy also provided input for the Request for Proposals (RFP) to develop a Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Strategic Plan, which is currently out for bid.
Energy Office Update
Let's celebrate Earth Day every day of the year! Save green by going green with these planet-friendly energy events and opportunities!
Appliance Recycling Events on Saturday, May 8
In partnership with the Town of Nantucket, National Grid is hosting two appliance recycling events on Saturday, May 8th.
- Fridge Recycling Pickup: If you have an old, working fridge and freezer sitting in your garage or basement, it could be costing you up to $150 in annual energy costs. Schedule a pickup and have your old unit safely removed at no cost to you, plus receive a $75 check for each appliance recycled. There are limited spots available, so schedule your pickup today. For more information, go to ngrid.com/nantucket or call 1-877-889-4761.
- Dehumidifier Turn-In Event: If you have an outdated, working dehumidifier that you'd like to upgrade or clean out, drop it off for recycling at the Public Safety Facility located at 4 Fairgrounds Rd. between 10-2pm on May-8th, and receive a $30 rebate!
To learn more, visit ngrid.com/nantucket, or contact Lauren Sinatra, Town Energy Coordinator, at LSinatra@nantucket-ma.gov
Take advantage of free Mass Save energy assessments for your home and business—including limited-time offers!
For Nantucket residents: In just four easy steps, you can sign-up for a No-Cost Virtual Home Energy Assessment and receive special offers for upgrading lighting, insulation, windows, mechanical systems & more!
- Call 1-844-615-8316 or sign-up online to schedule an appointment.
- Collaborate with an Energy Specialist remotely over the phone or video chat. You will receive a personalized energy report with recommendations for how to improve your home’s energy use.
- Get no-cost energy efficient products shipped to you.
- Receive 75% or more off approved insulation and additional rebates toward high-efficiency equipment, such as minisplits and heat pump water heaters. Landlords are eligible for an enhanced offer of 100% off insulation improvements!
For Nantucket small businesses: For a limited time, National Grid’s new vendor, Complete Energy Services (CES), is offering island businesses enhanced incentives up to 100% on LED Lighting & Controls, WiFi Thermostats, and more! CES also offers Refrigeration, HVAC, Solar Hot Water, and Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging Stations for commercial applications. Get started today by scheduling a no-cost assessment for your Nantucket business: sign-up online or call 1-833-237-2677.
Go Solar! Already have an energy-efficient home and looking to take the next step? Consider installing solar panels on your primary residence and receive up to $4,000 from the Town of Nantucket, in addition to other generous incentive program. Learn more here.
Unable to install solar, but still want to power your home or business with 100% renewable energy? The Town of Nantucket is proud to offer our community an easy and consumer-friendly option for purchasing green power though the Nantucket Powerchoice municipal electric aggregation program. To learn more about greening with your power supply at a rate of 12.232¢/kWh, please visit: www.nantucketpower.org.
Fun Energy Fact! Since launching the program in 2018, the Town of Nantucket has awarded $171,120 in solar rebates to 52 local residents, supporting more than 450kW of solar power! The Local Solar Rebate program helps make renewable energy more achievable for local residents and is funded through the Nantucket PowerChoice municipal electric aggregation program.
Surfside Road Area Sewer System Improvements Project
The work includes the replacement of the Surfside Road Pump Station and the installation of approximately 3,800 feet of gravity sewers tributary to the new Surfside Road Pump Station. The roadway portion of the project commenced on April 11, 2021 on Surfside Road between Miacomet Ave and Windy Way. The contractor has since installed gravity sewers deep within Surfside Road between the new pump station property and Miacomet Ave. The contractor has continued installation of gravity sewers to the north of the new pump station property towards Vesper Lane, where the final connection to divert flows to the new pump station will ultimately occur in 2022. The crew is currently at Windy Way working towards Bartlett Road.
Due to heavy traffic in the corridor and a return to full time in-person learning at the public school campus the Select Board approved a waiver of the noise bylaw to allow construction within the roadways to be done in the evening hours until June 25, 2021. For the safety of the crew and public full road closures are in effect during roadway work, which occurs Sundays through Thursdays from 4pm – 2am. Local businesses will remain open and accessible during evening construction hours. Police detail officers are on site to assist with access to local homes and businesses. The contractor will be installing temporary trench pavement every Friday (weather permitting) between 9am – 2pm (single lane closure only) to avoid school drop-off and pickup times. The public is urged to visit the project webpage for more information, including weekly schedule updates, crew location, road closures, and detour plans for Phases 1-3. The Sewer Department can also be reached at (508) 228-7200 x7800 with any questions.
Culture & Tourism
Nantucket Cultural District
The Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development held a virtual press conference on April 21st to announce the 59 recipients of the Travel and Tourism Recovery Grant. This grant program, managed by the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism, provided grants to support marketing efforts of tourism and culture-related nonprofits. Five Nantucket organizations received grants and four of them are located or offer programs in the Cultural District: Nantucket Preservation Trust, Nantucket Historical Association, Maria Mitchell Association, Nantucket Comedy Festival and the Nantucket Boys and Girls Club. Congratulations to these organizations on their successful applications.
Additionally, the Nantucket Cultural District received a $7,500 grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council which it awarded to four district partners to support their virtual programming. The recipients were: the Nantucket Community Music Center to support their online performances; the White Heron Theatre’s radio programming; the Maria Mitchell Association’s Science Speaker series; and Theatre Workshop of Nantucket’s virtual performances and rehearsals. These virtual tools ranging from Zoom to Vimeo to radio broadcasts and cameras and microphones have allowed these organizations to expand their audiences, educate lifelong learners, and provide entertainment. Each of them expects to continue some type of virtual programming moving forward.
Have you visited the Nantucket Cultural District website lately? It lists the cultural activities that are taking place around the island and a great place to see what’s going on live and virtually. You can find it at www.nantucketculturaldistrict.com.
Visitor Services Office
Seasonal staff are beginning to return to Visitor Services at 25 Federal Street. Additional staff means we’ll expand our hours leading into the summer season. The office will be open Saturdays, 9:00am to 5:00pm through mid-May. Depending on visitation numbers, the hours may be expanded after May 15th. Stop in and say “Hi!” to the Janes.
And, if you’re an organization or business who provides us with flyers, business cards, or other information, please do bring your up-to-date material to the office to share with our visitors. Please note, that display space is limited and all printed materias will be kept behind the counter plexiglass for the time being.
Nantucket Memorial Airport
Summer Air Service Update: After a COVID-interrupted 2020, air travel to Nantucket for this Summer is set to resume with purpose. Industry experts have identified converging trends of pent-up demand for travel, escalating vaccination rates, and continued attractiveness of high-yield leisure markets as drivers for increased commercial air service to vacation destinations. The trends for ACK’s 2021 season represent both a continued evolution of broader market dynamics, and an incipient recovery of post COVID-19 travel: ramifications of which are yet to be fully realized throughout the travel industry.
Continued Year-Round Service: Cape Air continues to provide high frequency flights to Boston, MA (BOS), Hyannis, MA (HYA), New Bedford, MA (EWB), and New York (JFK) to ensure your year-round connectivity to the Northeast and beyond. Additionally, Cape Air is now offering private charters through the ACK terminal.
New Entrant: Elite Airways joins the Nantucket community on May 27th and will offer direct daily jet service to White Plains/Westchester County (HPN) into October.
New Route Announcements: Both United Airlines and American Airlines have announced direct nonstop Chicago O’Hare (ORD) flights for 2021. United will offer their ORD service Fri/Sat/Sun from Memorial Day through Labor Day: American will fly the ORD route on Sat/Sun from June 26th through Labor Day.
United Airlines has also added a Washington D.C. (IAD) route, operating daily from Memorial Day to Labor Day. JetBlue Airways has launched direct nonstop Newark, NJ (EWR) service to begin operation on July 1st with flights daily through Labor Day, and twice daily Thu/Fri/Sun. Southern Airways Express is adding two new routes. Boston Hanscom Field (BED) service will start May 26th with daily service, and Lancaster, PA (LNS) will operate Saturdays beginning June 5th.
Expansion of Existing routes: Having added service to Philadelphia, PA (PHL) in 2020, American Airlines has now taken that route to daily service, operating from June 3rd through Labor Day.
Delta Airlines has resumed service to a pair of New York City Airports beginning Memorial Day weekend: the LGA route will operate Sat/Sun, and JFK service will be offered twice a day through Labor Day.
New Equipment: The most interesting airline equipment change for 2021 is United’s replacement of the 50-seat Embraer E145 with the CRJ550. The CRJ550 is not a new airframe, but instead is the 76-seat CRJ 700 reconfigured to hold only 50 seats. This aircraft offers 2-3 class configuration, with ample legroom and carry-on storage. The CRJ550 will be flown on all United ACK routes this summer.
Nantucket air service continues to evolve as the result of two ongoing industry trends. The first is the utilization of “regional” jets to bypass the traditional short-haul hub and spoke network, delivering city pairs based on demand instead of geographical proximity. The second is the protracted forecasted weakness in business travel, and subsequent airline focus on high-value leisure passengers. How these trends interact over the next 18 months and influence the complexities of a highly seasonal and mobile Nantucket travel consumer, are yet unknown.
Public Works Updates
Projects the DPW is working on these days include: Construction efforts include Milestone Bike Park; Broad and Easy Street sidewalk repairs; Waitt Drive construction; Orange Street and Polpis Road paving.