Soil and water

Select Board promotes indoor shooting range on city property near airport

(February 16, 2022) The Select Board was unanimous in its preference for an indoor firing range on the nine-acre Shadbush Road property east of Nantucket Memorial Airport, where the city was caught in the middle of a dispute over two decades between the Nantucket Hunting Association and its neighbors. potential lead contamination of the range offered.

The council authorized a request for proposals from interested parties on Wednesday evening, prioritizing an indoor range and annual soil tests. A vote for a 50-year lease for a shooting range on the property heads to the annual town hall meeting in May.

“It just seems very unfortunate that we were arguing even if it would be indoors or outdoors, given all the neighbor concerns,” Sarah Ellis said.

These concerns stem from the potential contamination of the environment by lead bullets in an outdoor facility. Hunting Association President Steve Holdgate said he would be happy to go ahead with an indoor facility if the association gets the offer to go ahead.

But other hunters think that would only slow or stop the process. It has been 18 years since a first lease was issued to the hunting association for a shooting range on the property.

“There are a lot of gun owners on this island, and this island needs an organized, purpose-built, environmentally friendly and safety-conscious shooting range,” David Bold said. , who hunts on the island. “Right now, it’s happening all over the island that someone can find an open space.”

A draft RFP now includes prioritization of an indoor range and requires the lease holder to perform soil and water testing for possible lead contamination. The leaseholder would also be responsible for paying the city $3,000 for the first five years of the lease.

In other news from Wednesday’s select committee meeting:

Hybrid meetings

Board Chairman Jason Bridges believes it’s time to return to in-person meetings. But he also wants to retain the remote participation that accompanies Zoom meetings that the Select Board has used since the start of the pandemic.

The result is a hybrid meeting, where the board facilitates the meeting at the Fairground Road public safety facility and collects feedback from people on Zoom at the same time. Bridges’ goal is to go hybrid for the March 16 board meeting.

“COVID has forced our hand, but it’s a huge improvement in government process and civic engagement,” said board member Melissa Murphy. “I support the hybrid model. I would like to see as many hybrids as possible. This is the direction the world is moving in and this is how our communities will expect to have access to government, so we just have to do it.

The return to in-person meetings also comes down to the state’s COVID-19 orders that allowed remote meetings in the first place. Those orders expire April 1, though legislation is pending in Beacon Hill to extend remote access.

This would affect not only the Select Board, but the other 10 regulatory boards and the city’s 30 non-regulatory boards. Not everyone will be able to stand in a hybrid format, said city administrator Erika Mooney. NCTV-18 does not have the staff to handle it, she said.

“I know a lot of people who can’t go to Select Board on Wednesday night, or they can’t go to School Committee on Tuesday because they’re working parents and they have to go home to cook dinner or swim. babies and put them all to bed, and it would be easier for them to jump on a video than to find a babysitter so they could go to meetings.

Coastal Resilience Funding

The question of how to fund one of the biggest and most expensive priorities of the coastal resilience plan released by engineering firm Arcadis late last year becomes a little clearer, officials hope. town.

The city is applying for an in-state Municipal Vulnerability Readiness Grant to fund a feasibility study for a downtown neighborhood flood barrier project that calls for raised roadways and partitions from Washington Street to Easton Street, creating a raised dune at Children’s Beach and raising both Steamboat Wharf and Straight Wharf. The city pays $20,000 to the consultant Arcadis to help develop this application.

The city also secured a $160,988 grant from the state Department of Energy Resources for energy-saving measures at city offices, including replacement of the PTAC unit, air-source heat pumps and LED lighting.

It was one of 10 contracts approved by the Select Board on Wednesday night. Others include a contract with Verizon New England for the maintenance and repairs of 259 utility poles, plus $41,000 in three contracts covering nurse pay, office training and translation services for Our Island Home, and a $7,500 state grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council for diversity programming.

In another report to the board, capital program committee chair Stephen Welch said CapCom had accepted 92 capital requests, totaling $98 million for the upcoming fiscal year, up significantly. compared to 52 requests a year ago, which totaled $56 million.

These requests run the gamut from $8.5 million for seasonal housing for city employees, $6 million for a municipal office building at 2 Fairgrounds Road, $16 million for outdoor sports facility improvements for public schools, $21.93 million for municipal administration, $4.99 million for the police department. , $7.48 million in transportation projects and $2.25 million in risk mitigation projects.

Capital requests are forwarded to the finance committee for review before moving to a potential vote at the annual municipal meeting.

Verizon utility jobs are coming soon

Maintenance work on the utility poles will begin over the next few weeks and will last about five weeks, Verizon’s Tom MacNabb said. The first work involves installing wire mesh along the base of the posts, the most vulnerable point of an aging post. There are currently no such metal trusses on power poles on the island.

But there were concerns about how they might affect the appearance of historic streetscapes, especially in older historic neighborhoods. The proposal was reviewed by the Historical Commission last fall, City Manager Libby Gibson said.

“These things aren’t pretty but they are what they are for security reasons,” she said, adding that the poles are located across the island.

“We will always restore the surface to what was there,” MacNabb said. “If it was brick, we make brick or if it’s cobblestone. Concrete is easier, but we’ll match the material that’s there.

The trusses have a lifespan of 10 years, MacNabb said. After that, Select Board member Matt Fee hopes the city will remove the poles and bury the lines they carry.

“I was hoping you would say 10 years and we’ll bury all our posts at the end,” he said. “We’ve been trying for years, and coastal resilience and other reasons now, I think that’s where we need to go.”

Alternate seat of the Planning Council

The city is also accepting nominations to fill an alternate seat open on the Planning Board following the resignation of David Callahan. Applications can be submitted to the municipal administration office and are due Friday, February 25. The board plans to make an appointment to fill the seat at its March 23 meeting.

Sewer and Solid Waste Proposals
The council has approved two applications from the sewer department to expand the city’s sewer district to include lots on Hawthorne Lane, off Hummock Pond Road and one lot on Milestone Crossing. The first is in the sewer needs area, according to director of sewers David Gray. The latter is located in a wetland protection zone. Council did not support a proposal to extend the city sewer to a property on Skyline Drive. Gray said it wasn’t in the need zone. These sewer district amendments are submitted to the annual municipal meeting for a final vote.

The city is also seeking to strengthen its definition of biodegradable plastics to exclude plastics containing PFAS. Change requires a public hearing. This would apply to all items packed on the island, said city recycling coordinator Graeme Durovich.

“Existing regulations are outdated,” Gibson added. “They are not compatible with the latest ban on single-use plastic approved at the town meeting, which is now part of the city’s code.”

“Non-compostable materials that are disposed of in landfill are becoming an increasing cost to the city. They must be shipped off the island. Costs are rising.”

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