Latest SBPF Hearing Ends Without A Verdict

David Creed •

Geotube kit noble

The ongoing feud about what to do with the 947-foot geotube project along the Sconset Bluff between the Siasconset Bluff Preservation Fund (SBPF), the Nantucket Conservation Commission, and island resident Robert Greenhill will continue for at least one more court session after Tuesday’s Nantucket Superior Court hearing ended without a verdict by judge Mark Gildea.

The hearing has not been scheduled, but is expected to last between 90 minutes and two hours, where each side will have an opportunity to present their arguments on the merits of the case.

Greenhill filed a lawsuit in Superior Court on November 1, 2021, seeking Gildea to uphold the commission’s removal order of the geotubes and issue an enforcement order for SBPF to remove the tubes after repeatedly failing to comply with the commission’s order of conditions.

Attorney Gary Ronan, representing SBPF, said in the session that the commission’s removal order is a “lapse of logic” and that they did not assess the harm that will come from the removal of these tubes. He said their decision not to wait for Arcadis, the engineering firm hired by the town to guide them through the next steps with this project, was “unreasonable”

On the other side attorney Dennis Murphy, representing Greenhill, argued that the commission doesn’t read their enforcement order as relieving SBPF of their obligations. Murphy blasted SBPF for not adding more sand to the area and for repeatedly neglecting their responsibilities under the order of conditions given by the commission.

Ronan replied saying SBPF can’t keep throwing one million dollars-worth of sand on the beach if there is no path to expansion of the project.

Gildea pressed Ronan towards the end of the hearing, saying “the conservation commission isn’t saying the geotube project won’t work. They are saying take it out because you aren’t doing the job the way you said you would.”

Gildea said expressed to the attorneys and packed courthouse that his job is to determine whether the conservation commission abused its power to order the removal of these tubes.

He asked the SBPF side what he expected the commission to do when they were not doing what they were supposed to do under the order of conditions.

He asked the conservation commission’s side what they believe removing the geotubes would do to benefit the island and his confusion on what the long-term outlook is if the tubes were ultimately removed.

At the end of the hearing, Gildea allowed for the administrative record to be expanded to documents outside of what was before the commission when it issued its enforcement order, which could bring more evidence and supporting facts to either sides case.

Check back in with the Current for updates as they become available.

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