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

What's up in Town Administration?

It’s August! Lots of commentary out there about traffic, chain stores, the 2020 single-use plastics ban – to name a few of the topics we have heard the most about lately. More on those, below. Meanwhile, on July 19th, Lt. Governor Karyn Polito was on-island. She met Harbor Master Sheila Lucey, Select Board Chair Dawn Hill Holdgate as well as Select Members Jason Bridges and Kristie Ferrantella, myself, several other Town officials and some Marine Department seasonal staff for a brief presentation of a grant award for $500,000 from the Commonwealth’s Dredging Program for dredging at the Town Pier in connection with the Town Pier renovation project. Thank you Lt. Governor Polito!

From left to right: Select Board member Jason Bridges, Select Board Chair Dawn Hill Holdgate, Town Manager Libby Gibson, Select Board member Kristie Ferrantella, Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, Harbormaster Sheila Lucey, Harbormaster crew.


Is traffic worse this summer than ever before? Although it seems like people say that annually, they certainly are complaining about it and there definitely seem to be areas with chronic traffic back-ups. ReMain is sponsoring an alternative transportation campaign that is promoting use of the NRTA Wave, walking (get your steps in!), biking, carpooling. There are several Town projects either funded, or “on the drawing board” intended to improve bike and pedestrian access to and from the downtown, as well as the Town’s Transportation Improvement Plan. Several projects meant to improve transportation were approved at the 2019 Annual Town Meeting but not at the subsequent election (including roadway reconstructions of Monohansett Road, Okorwaw Avenue and Lover’s Lane; a round-about and associated sidewalk improvements at Old South Road and Fairgrounds Road). The Nantucket Planning & Economic Development Commission is, again, commencing discussion and review of the possibility of vehicle limitations – something, which if you review the “Looking Backward” feature in the Inquirer & Mirror has been discussed periodically for decades.

Chain Stores

The Town has a zoning bylaw which regulates chain stores – more formally known as “Formula Businesses”. Several of these have been brought to our attention and are currently undergoing zoning review to determine whether or not they are allowed. It also seems that there is a possible disconnect between those who are operating these stores, property owners and the Town. Obviously, we need to establish a much more effective way to communicate the local business requirements so that non-compliant stores do not open in the first place. This issue is currently being internally discussed.

Nantucket Harbor

2020 Single Use Plastics Ban

On June 1, 2020, pursuant to a Special Town Meeting vote in October, 2018, the following single-use plastics will be banned from commercial sale and distribution on the Island:

  • Straws and drink stirrers
  • Six-pack can and bottle flexible yokes
  • Drinking cups and lids
  • Non-compostable plates and eating utensils
  • Drinking water* in bottles of 1 liter or less
  • Non-recyclable coffee pods

*Plain, unflavored, non-carbonated drinking water

Egan Maritime Honors Harbormaster Sheila Lucey's “immeasurable contributions to the island and its youth.”

Photo courtesy of Boston Globe.

We were very proud to learn that Harbormaster Sheila Lucey would be the recipient of an award from the Egan Maritime Institute on August 7, 2019. The award recognized Sheila’s significant contributions and achievements to the island. As Harbormaster, she is in charge of the Lifeguard Program and under her leadership, in 2016, Nantucket became the only small town in New England certified by the United States Lifesaving Association; this is a significant accomplishment. Many Marine Department seasonal employees are local kids who have gone to excellent colleges, trades and work opportunities and who credit Sheila for their success. Thank you for your dedication to the Town of Nantucket, Sheila!

American Legion’s Byron L. Sylvaro Post 82 Celebrates Centennial Anniversary

The Town of Nantucket, through the Department of Culture and Tourism, is participating in the planning of several events to celebrate the Centennial Anniversary of Nantucket’s American Legion Byron L. Sylvaro Post 82.

The American Legion was founded in 1919 by a group of veterans waiting in France for their ship home to the United States at the end of The Great War. The national organization received its Federal Charter from Congress on September 16, 1919 and Nantucket’s American Legion received its charter on July 1, 1919 and has called its Washington Street location home ever since.

Post 82 will celebrate the national and local centennial with several events to which the public is most welcome to attend. On Saturday, September 7th at 9 AM, the American Legion will raise its special Centennial flag on the flag pole at Wilkes Square adjacent to the Legion Hall at 21 Washington Street complete with the playing of “To The Colors Bugle Call” and followed by a reception at the Legion Hall. On Wednesday, September 18th, the Select Board will read a proclamation at its weekly meeting to announce that Saturday, September 21, 2019 will be named “Byron L. Sylvaro Post 82 American Legion Centennial Day.”

The main Centennial Celebration will be held on Saturday, September 21, 2019, when Post 82 will celebrate with a special dinner at the VFW Hall at 22 New South Road catered by E.J. Harvey. The Centennial dinner will feature a keynote speech by the Honorable Jim Nicholson, US Secretary for Veterans Affairs and Ambassador to the Holy See, and commendations to members of the Nantucket community. Ticket prices are $50 for veterans and members of the American Legion and VFW; $100 for the public. Tables are also available for sponsorships. Tickets are available at 508-680-4672 or online at https://alnantucket.tix.com/Event.aspx?EventCode=1149242.

The American Legion was founded on four pillars: caring for veterans, fostering strong national security, mentoring the youth of the nation, and promoting patriotism and honor. Nationally, the American Legion played a leading role in the creation of the U.S. Flag Code and the G.I. Bill. On Nantucket, Post 82 sponsors local youth to attend the annual State Leadership Camp, Little League, and other youth sports programs. It collaborates with non-profit groups to host community events and celebrations throughout the year, including the monthly Community Dinner, fundraising dinners for Scout Troops, and The Homestead’s “Paint the Town Red” dinner. The Legion also provides scholarships to local high school students, welcomes home local service members arriving by ferry or plane, and is a key participant in the annual Memorial Day, Veterans’ Day, and Flag Day programs.

American Legion Byron L. Sylvaro Post 82 cordially invites the public to attend all these events and programs and join them in the celebration of 100 years of service to the Nantucket veterans and entire community, and our nation. For more information, contact Carolyn Walsh, Director Centennial Events, 508-680-4672, cwalshACK@gmail.com

Melville 200

The celebration of Melville’s 200th birthday continues. Have you visited one of the ten podiums around town, taken a selfie and sent it to #ACKMobyDick? Gift certificates to Or, The Whale or Queequegs are waiting for the best selfie of the week. The contest continues through early September.

And, make plans to attend Moby Dick Rehearsed at the Whaling Museum from Wednesday, August 21 through Sunday, August 23 at 7 pm – a collaboration between the NHA and Theatre Workshop of Nantucket.

Nantucket Housing Representatives Support Proposed Affordable Housing Legislation

In the midst of vacation rental season, housing officials from Nantucket made the trek to Beacon Hill to join their state senator Julian Cyr in a call for new tools to help create attainable housing for year-round Cape and Islands residents.

The bill (S 789) includes provisions that would allow cities and towns to establish a transfer tax on property sales valued over $2 million, allow accessory dwelling units without a special permit, and allow cities and towns to implement a property tax exemption for low- or moderate-income households.

Left to right: State Rep. Fernandes, Housing Specialist Tucker Holland, Housing Nantucket Exec. Dir. Anne Kuszpa, Real Estate Specialist Ken Beaugrand at the State House on July 30, 2019.

The bill would also require that tiny homes of no more than 600 square feet be permitted in communities that permit accessory dwelling units, and create a local option that would allow a property tax exemption for units that are occupied year-round and rented on a yearly basis for no more than 150 percent of the fair market rent.

Housing specialist Tucker Holland said the state's housing crisis may be at its most severe on the small island, where the average home price exceeds $2 million.

The bill would also direct the Department of Housing and Community Development to give "special consideration" to counting certain otherwise unqualified projects as part of a municipality's subsidized housing inventory such as Nantucket's covenant housing program. Under the Covenant Program, a property owner is able to subdivide their lot, as long as a permanent affordability restriction is recorded on the deed and sold to an income-qualified, year-round resident.

According to Housing Nantucket Executive Director Anne Kuszpa, two-thirds of the island's housing is occupied seasonally. "There's an urgent demand for affordable housing at all income levels," Kuszpa said.

From the Energy Office: The 2017 Stretch Energy Code

Massachusetts gives communities two options for their building energy code – a base energy code or an optional stretch energy code (“Stretch Code”). Towns can choose to adopt the Stretch Code by Town Meeting vote and it can be rescinded by Town Meeting vote. Designation as a “Massachusetts Green Community” requires Town Meeting adoption of the Stretch Code.

On January 1, 2017, both the Base Energy Code and the Stretch Energy Code were updated. The differences between the two are now much less than in the past. Basically, to comply with the Stretch Code, new residential construction must follow the Performance Path of the Base Code rather than the Prescriptive Path. It is worth noting that all additions, renovations, and repairs to residential buildings are explicitly exempt from the Stretch Code. Also, smaller, new commercial buildings as well as additions, renovations and repairs of commercial buildings are exempt.

The Stretch Code is performance based. It requires new homes to meet a HERS (Home Energy Rating System) index rating target of 55, rather than requiring the installation of specific levels of energy efficiency for each building element (e.g. windows, wall insulation, roof insulation, furnace etc.). The HERS rating is a measure based on a home’s total expected energy use and overall efficiency. It is calculated by a certified HERS rater using accredited software, which calculates the annual energy needs of the home to give it a customized rating score.

Under the Stretch Code, builders have the flexibility to choose how to design the home to meet the HERS rating target. HERS Raters help to ensure that homes are built well and perform as designed. Many builders say that the energy efficiency trade-off system makes it easier to construct a Stretch Code home than a Base Energy Code home.

Under the Stretch Code, there will be additional upfront costs, primarily for HERS Rater services, which include: testing for air leakage, inspecting insulation, and testing of ventilation and all ductwork for quality assurances. This cost is generally in the $1,200 - $3,500 range for residences. Diagnostic testing by a third party is part of today’s code. Adopting the Stretch Code affords builders and homeowners a Mass Save incentive, in the range of $900-$4,500, to offset these built-in costs.

In 2018, over half of the new construction permits issued on Nantucket were built in association with a HERS Rater. Most new construction projects on Nantucket already meet Stretch Code standards.

Adopted at the 2019 annual town meeting, the Stretch Code takes effect in Nantucket on September 1, 2019. Currently 250 out of 351 communities have adopted the Stretch Code, representing 70% of Massachusetts municipalities.

Surfside Beach

News from the Natural Resources Department

Natural Resources & Madaket Marine Collaboration

The Natural Resources Department and Madaket Marine are collaborating to grow seed oysters in Hither Creek. A grant was awarded from the Madaket Conservation Association Trust to purchase the equipment needed to grow small oysters donated by Smalls Marine in Hither Creek. This water body is classified as "prohibited to shellfishing" by the MA Division of Marine Fisheries but oysters are allowed to be grown there by the Town's propagation permit until they reach 25mm. Once they approach this size they are sent to a pathology lab to ensure that diseases are not being transferred from one water body to the next.

A few thousand oysters were deployed on the restoration site and more will be deployed later in the summer. If you are out at Madaket Marine, check out the oysters growing in the floating cages along the floating dock!

Vincent Murphy: New Coastal Resilience Coordinator

Nantucket faces some unique challenges with respect to climate change, sea level rise and also increased storm frequency and intensity. To face these challenges, the Town has created a new position of Coastal Resilience Coordinator in the Natural Resources Department. This position is responsible for developing and continuously improving a comprehensive Coastal and Community Resilience Program in the Town of Nantucket. This includes facilitating final development of the Coastal Resiliency Plan and the implementation and coordination of this plan. Coastal Resilience is an evolving discipline, and currently uses a community-driven process to engage the community to identify the risks of coastal hazards, particularly sea-level rise and storm surge, with adaptation and risk mitigation solutions.

Vincent Murphy was recently appointed to the position. He already works for the Natural Resources Department and leaves behind his previous position as the Protected Species Technician. Vince has a B.Sc. in Wildlife Management & Conservation Biology and a M.Sc. in Ecosystem Conservation and Landscape Management. He has previously worked as an Environmental Consultant and has extensive experience working on large scale and community-based projects. He moved to Nantucket 3 years ago with his wife Emily and now has a family here. In that time, he has become well versed with the challenges of Nantucket’s coastal areas, downtown area flooding and the Island erosion concerns. Reducing the impacts of these events and helping the impacted areas to cope and bounce back into the future are challenges that Vince will work towards addressing as the Town's Coastal Resilience Coordinator.

A Reminder from the Health Department

Public Safety Day

The Nantucket Police Department hosted the Annual Public Safety Day on August 6 as part of the National Night Out program. The event is made possible by local law enforcement and first responders reaching out to build relationships and strengthen the community. Participants included the Police SWAT team, K-9 Unit and 911 Dispatchers, Lifeguards, the Nantucket Fire Department and Airport Fire units, Coast Guard Brant Point, Massachusetts State Police and Environmental Police, Boston MedFlight, and the Public Works and Sewer Departments.

Over 400 visitors were treated to special demonstrations and access to police motorcycles, mobile command vehicle, firetrucks, Coast Guard vessel and a helicopter landing on the Elementary School field. The event could not be possible without the generous support of so many community organizations that donated their time and services. A huge thank you to the sponsors who provided the tents, giveaways, food, beverages and over 400 free ice creams for all the kids big and small! Thank you to ACK 97.7, Inquirer and Mirror, A Safe Place, Nantucket Rotary Club, Nantucket Community Television, Mahon about Town, Admiralty Club, Nantucket Stop and Shop, the UPS Store, Island Kitchen, Island Fair and Nantucket Public Schools.

The Barnacle: Parking Enforcement System

It is possible that while walking downtown this summer, you have seen some cars with a yellow piece of plastic on the windshield. The Barnacle, an opaque piece of plastic held in place by two suction cups and 750 pounds of force, is a new way for parking patrols to immobilize wrongfully parked vehicles; or, vehicles whose owners have outstanding parking tickets. This system makes it impossible for a driver to simply drive away.

The tech-savvy device is also sensitive to movement and will sound an alarm if it detects that a car is in use while it is attached. Parking officers will deploy the Barnacle on vehicles with outstanding parking tickets. Just as easy as it is to deploy with an officer's smartphone, the offender can remove it the same way once the full payment is received. The offender is also required to return the device back to the police station or be subject to more fines and penalties.

Things to know: Warning Sirens

The tornadoes that ripped through Cape Cod in July were a good reminder as to why the Town installed warning sirens in three island locations (Water Company - Sconset, Fire House - Madaket, and mid-island - 2 Fairgrounds Road) several years ago: in the event of an impending serious emergency, the sirens are intended to warn people that something is going on and they should immediately seek shelter and/or information on the radio, television, or internet. The Town has its own low power radio station at 105.5, this would be one source of information during a serious emergency.

Essential Information:

  • Warning Sirens will only be activated if Emergency Managers are notified of an imminent life threatening situation bearing down on the Town and County of Nantucket.
  • The sirens will sound for 30 seconds. Depending on the circumstances the warning could be repeated after a period of time.
  • If the sirens are activated, seek immediate shelter and information from local broadcast outlets.
  • The sirens are only activated for imminent life threatening situations. They will not be activated as an all clear signal.

What are the sirens for?

Outdoor warning sirens are designed to alert individuals of a possible hazard to their health or life safety. Building practices have effectively reduced the sound penetration inside. If you hear an outdoor warning siren, you should "Shelter, Shut and Seek" information regarding the warning.

How often will the sirens be tested and how will I know the difference between a test and a life threatening emergency?

Emergency Managers will test the sirens at least monthly but the testing procedure is silent and the general public will not even be aware that it is taking place. If for some reason the warning sirens need to be tested in alert mode, the public will be given prior notification of the live tests via social media, radio and television.

What do Nantucket Emergency Managers recommend that citizens do to insure that they learn of life threatening situations?

We strongly recommend that you consider the following:

  • Purchase a weather alert radio if you do not already have one
  • Subscribe to a wireless email alert system to receive alerts on your phone
  • Rely on the sirens only for outdoor warning
  • Turn to broadcast radio or television for details and follow-up information
  • Create an emergency information kit and prepare yourself to receive as much information as possible about the specific emergency.
Our Island Home backyard

News from Our Island Home

Summer music performances are in the Our Island Home Living Room and they are free and open to the public!

  • Thursday, August 15 at 4:00 pm music by Jim Sulzer
  • Friday, August 16 at 3:30 pm Nantucket Community School Playgroup
  • Monday, August 19 at 4:00 pm music by Mollie Glazer
  • Wednesday, August 21 at 4:00 pm music by Susan Berman
  • Thursday, August 22 at 4:00 pm music by Mollie Glazer
  • Friday, August 23 at 3:30 pm Nantucket Community School Playgroup
  • Monday, August 26 at 4:00 pm music by Jim Sulzer
  • Wednesday, August at 28 4:00 pm music by PJ Moody and friends
  • Friday, August 29 at 4:00 pm music by Steve Tornovish
  • Saturday, August 30 at 3:30 pm Nantucket Community School Playgroup
Saltmarsh Senior Center deck.

Saltmarsh Senior Center

Past events

Seniors have enjoyed several Old Salt Sails with Nantucket Community Sailing & Harbor Tours with Great Harbor Yacht Club.

Boston Pops at Saltmarsh Senior Center.

Thank you Nantucket Cottage Hospital for streaming the show to us. What a wonderful night!

Nancy Thayer joined the team at the Saltmarsh for a book talk.

Upcoming events

  • Join Saltmarsh members to assemble Annie’s Kindness Blankets for those who need an everlasting hug. All materials supplied. Monday, August 19 at 1:15 PM.
  • Join the Crafting Club to make Beachcomber Wreaths on Monday, August 26 at 1:15 PM.
  • Waste Water Treatment Tour at the South Shore Rd. facility on Tuesday, August 20 at 10:00 AM.
  • Know the 10 Signs of Alzheimer’s presentation with Rachel Day and Alison Forsgren on Thursday, August 22 at 1:30 PM.
  • Cindy Sullivan will make a guest appearance on Friday, August 30th at 10:00 AM to teach an aerobics class and share some tips on active aging. You can exercise with Cindy Monday – Friday at 10 AM on NCTV Channel 18.
Town of Nantucket - 16 Broad Street Nantucket, MA 02554

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Florencia Rullo

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