Tisbury selectmen expressed frustration Tuesday at what they said has been a lack of communication from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation about its long-planned work on Beach Road.
“They sure have not kept us in the loop, and we’ve been asking for information,” selectman Jeff Kristal said.
He also complained that state contractors bringing equipment and materials for the project, which extends from Wind’s Up to Five Corners, have not responded to rental offers from private landowners.
“They think they’re going to use our [town] locations for no money,” Mr. Kristal said.
Selectman Larry Gomez said the project’s long history may have affected state highway officials’ attitude toward the town.
“The DOT is just tired of us,” said Mr. Gomez, who previously served on the board from 2015 to 2018 and has opposed the Beach Road work.
“I’m against it, but not to a point where I can’t sit down and discuss it with these people and move things along,” Mr. Gomez said, suggesting a meeting between town officials and MassDOT.
“This is their road in our town,” he said. “There ought to be some halfway point.”
Board chairman James Rogers suggested a more open process.
“Maybe we could ask them, at the very minimum, to have a Zoom meeting with the public, especially with the affected business in that area, about what they anticipate the process will be,” Mr. Rogers said.
Town administrator Jay Grande recommended a series of meetings, telling selectmen that the state is dividing the Beach Road construction into six phases.
“Having the initial meeting, and having some commitment for future meetings as the phases begin and end, is a good idea,” Mr. Grande said.
The board unanimously authorized Mr. Grande to seek a meeting with state transportation representatives assigned to the project.
Also Tuesday, board members again criticized the multitude of dinghies on the beach at Owen Park, a topic Mr. Rogers previously raised in August.
“It’s the same problem that I had before,” Mr. Rogers said. “I’m not trying to take access away from the boaters . . . but we can’t keep allowing the beach to be taken up by all these dinghies.”
Harbor master John Crocker said dinghies and kayaks can be beached at no charge by mooring holders. “If you don’t have a mooring and you have a kayak or a paddle board, it’s $25 for the season,” he said.
Mr. Rogers asked his fellow board members if they had any ideas for reducing the numbers of vessels on the beach.
“Other than putting a hole in those dinghies so they all sink, no,” Mr. Gomez said.
Mr. Kristal asked whether a town-sponsored launch service would reduce the need for dinghies. “We could have a private contractor come in,” he said.
Mr. Crocker recommended the problem go before the new waterways committee the town is forming.
Later in Tuesday’s meeting, selectmen defined the makeup of both the waterways committee and a new water resources committee.
Both will be five-member boards, selectmen agreed, with the waterways committee made up of qualified town residents and the water resources committee composed of appointees from other town boards.
For the waterways committee, selectmen said they are looking for people with expertise in conservation resource management, marine resource management, boating and commercial fishing. Applications are available on the town website and interviews will begin at the Oct. 13 board meeting.
Members of the water resources committee, charged with overseeing Tisbury’s management of both stormwater and wastewater, will be appointed in October by the town bodies on which they already serve: the planning board, financial and advisory committee, board of health, select board and sewer advisory committee.
Tisbury resident Mac Schilcher asked why the water resources committee, unlike the waterways committee, will not be open to members of the public.
“This one is highly regulated by the DEP [Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection],” Mr. Grande replied.
“Many of these areas are in the aquifer or close to an aquifer, or involve a watershed . . . This is the steering committee, to go through the nuts and bolts.”
As the committee develops plans for the town’s water resources, Mr. Grande said, there will be opportunities for public participation on task forces and working groups.
Among other business Tuesday, selectmen agreed to accept a conflict of interest disclosure from Marie Maciel, public works director Kirk Metell’s top choice for the position of general foreman.
Ms. Maciel is related to two other members of the public works department, Mr. Grande said.
“In this position at a supervisory level, under the union contract she would need to make this disclosure,” Mr. Grande said, adding that Mr. Metell expected to make the job offer Wednesday.