Wastewater concerns continue to hover over the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital’s proposed new nursing home facility off the Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road, with Edgartown selectmen voting Monday to have an engineering firm conduct an independent analysis of the project.
The proposed development is slated for a landlocked parcel at 490 Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road, currently owned by the Philip J. Norton family.
In December of 2019, hospital chief executive officer Denise Schepici confirmed that a purchase and sale agreement had been signed for the 21-acre piece of land, with the intention to construct approximately 70 beds in five, live-in-care, group-home style buildings and 60 units of workforce housing.
A formal plan for the development has not been submitted to the town, planning board administrator Doug Finn confirmed Tuesday, although the hospital has been in discussions with the wastewater commission and Martha’s Vineyard Commission about aspects of the project.
With Edgartown’s sewer plant nearing capacity, wastewater remains a crucial factor in the development. According to wastewater facility manager Bill Burke, the hospital wants to tie into town sewer using the Morgan Woods pump station, which would require approval by the wastewater commission and the state Department of Environmental Protection.
At the selectmen’s meeting Tuesday, town officials voted to have the engineering firm Tighe & Bond examine the project. The analysis will cost $9,600 and will be paid for by the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital.
“There are some wastewater concerns,” town administrator James Hagerty told the Gazette by phone. “It’s a big project and we want our third-party engineers to look at it.”
According to a copy of the contract provided to the Gazette, the firm will examine possible upgrades needed at the Morgan Woods pump station, the cost of upgrades, and the impact of the development on sewer capacity and nutrient loading. The study assumes the hospital will request 17,050 gallons per day of capacity.
“With the additional flow, are the pump stations big enough, can they handle the flow, do they need upgrades?” Mr. Burke said. “Those are the questions.”
The town approved new zoning regulations at its 2021 annual town meeting that allow for the construction of an elder care facility in anticipation of the project. If the project is ultimately approved, the hospital plans to eventually transition out of the Windemere nursing facility on its campus and relocate long-term care to the new facility.
In other business Monday, selectmen opened the commercial shellfishing season in the Edgartown Great Pond, unanimously approving a daily limit of two level, 10-gallon washbuckets, and a weekly limit of no more than six level, 10-gallon wash buckets.
The closure line stretches east from the base of Swan Neck, across the pond to the tip of Slough Cove. The season runs from Monday through Friday, ending on Sept. 6.
According to a letter from shellfish constable Paul Bagnall, the weekly limit is a new feature.
“It allows the fishermen discretion over which days of the week to fish, based on weather and market conditions,” the letter says. “We expect turnout to be light, with two to six people participating.”