What Else Happened At The First Night Of Town Meeting?

David Creed and Jason Graziadei •

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Beyond the debates over the short-term rental articles, which dominated most of the first night of Nantucket's Annual Town Meeting, there was action on a few other warrant articles before voters called it a night around 10:30 p.m.

The other proposals that were voted on include:

Article 3: This budget article sought to transfer money appropriated at previous town meetings to a variety of town entities, and it was adopted by a wide margin: 493-52. The approval came after a lone amendment to the article was made by island resident Meghan Perry, who wanted conditions to be connected to the appropriation of over $3 million in funds to the airport for the purpose of funding the much-debated south apron project. The conditions are as follows:

  • Permanent withdrawal of PFAS-contaminated berm from the South Apron Project.
  • Utilization of the South Apron Project being limited for future use to only those jet aircraft that are towed into and out of the apron area.
  • Installation of a noise and engine-exhaust blast wall for the protection of the Surfside, Nobadeer, and Madequacham neighborhoods.

Neighbors of the airport renewed their criticism of the project and what they said was the airport's lack of communication.

Perry said her reasoning behind the amendment was to protect the neighbors in the area of the project. Several property owners located near the airport spoke during the allocated time for discussion, including longtime residents Anne Phaneuf and Peter Mackay. While speaking to voters, they claimed they are worried the airport is not holding true to promises made in past airport commission meetings.

“This is really not just our backyard. I really think this goes to who we are as an island,” Phaneuf said. “I understand the hardworking people of the airport commission and our airport manager, and I wouldn’t be surprised if in their unguarded moments they wouldn’t say they wish they had put this somewhere else. The dialogue is just now happening. It feels like a beast moved into our backyard. There are bulldozers. It is a major construction site.

“This is a residential area,” she continued. “We are a neighborhood. We are not a commercial development.”

Article 8: The town's $131 million operating budget was approved on a vote of 332 - 105. The endorsement of the town budget came after voters rejected an amendment put forward by Meghan Perry that would have restricted an appropriation for the Affordable Housing Trust by prohibiting any of the funds from being paid to the developers of the Surfside Crossing 40B development.  That amendment was defeated 288-105.

Article 10: More than $16.2 million in capital projects and initiatives was approved Voters approved 313-51 after Meghan Perry withdrew an amendment she had considered filing.  The capital spending includes $1 million for the affordable housing trust, a new $2 million ladder truck for the fire department, $1.1 million for sidewalk improvements planned by the DPW, along with other vehicles and equipment for town departments. 

Article 11: A proposed $3 million appropriation for a feasibility study and design costs related to the creation of employee housing on town-owned properties off Fairgrounds Road was rejected by voters. While the warrant article gained a majority - with 251 votes in favor and 177 opposed - it fell short of the two-thirds threshold required. The article was originally called by Toby Brown, who questioned the cost and the need for the feasibility study.

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