A European energy company hopes to return to Chilmark next month to present more details about its plans to build a large wind farm south of the Vineyard.
Earlier this month, a representative for Dong Energy met with Island officials, fishermen and others to discuss the company’s plans and begin making inroads with members of the fishing community.
Dong (Danish oil and natural gas) Energy hopes to install up to 100 turbines in an area that begins about 15 miles south of the Island. Doing so will require an extensive survey, along with the cooperation of fishermen who cast their nets in the area.
Island fishermen have generally opposed wind farms near the Vineyard, as was evident at the meeting with Dong on Feb. 11. Some suggested doing the survey earlier in the year when the area is closed to fishing, and positioning survey instruments higher in the water to avoid gillnets anchored to the sea floor.
The general reception was cool at the prospect of sharing the area, even for a few weeks.
Dong now hopes to return March 22 for a second pass and to provide more details about its plans. The Martha’s Vineyard Fishermen’s Preservation Trust, which helped organize the first meeting, has not yet decided whether to welcome the company back. “They are interested and they seem to be serious about moving ahead,” Chilmark selectman and trust board member Warren Doty said at a selectmen’s meeting Tuesday.
Also at the Tuesday meeting, selectmen provided updates on efforts to buy land for a new fire station and design a new parking area for the town police station.
The owners of land directly behind town hall have granted an extension to a purchase and sale agreement that originally expired on Jan. 15. In December the agreement was extended to Feb. 29, after fire chief David Norton cast doubt on the suitability of the site as a home for a new fire station. Without Mr. Norton’s support, the selectmen later canceled a special town meeting at which voters would have decided whether to approve the $975,000 purchase.
The new deadline for approving the purchase is April 25, the day of the annual town meeting. Alternatives are being explored.
Efforts are also underway to relocate the parking lot at the police station on State Road. Last year the town historical commission and the selectmen denied a request by police chief Brian Cioffi to pave the existing lot directly in front of the station. That led to a proposal to relocate the lot farther west on the property. That could mean removing an old fence and basketball court, but plans are still unclear.
Selectman Bill Rossi agreed to sketch an initial concept. “There is plenty of room to design something in there that would work for the police department and it would look good from the roadside,” he said.
With strong recommendations from Tri-Town Ambulance chief Ben Retmier, the selectmen appointed Matt Montanile as deputy chief, and Traci Monteith as a full-time paramedic for the service, which covers Chilmark, West Tisbury and Aquinnah. Ms. Monteith also works for the Edgarotwn and Tisbury services, but said Tri-Town would take priority.
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