The storm-ravaged Squibnocket Beach parking lot will be repaved this spring while a newly-formed beach committee considers long-term solutions to address increasing erosion at the town beach and abutting development of Squibnocket Farm, the Chilmark selectmen said this week.
Selectman Bill Rossi, a member of the committee, said the group has decided in the short term to repave the parking lot in time for the summer season. The committee also has enlisted surveyor Reid Silva to determine the wetland boundary areas and “correct the property lines . . . so we know exactly what we have” before deciding on more permanent options.
The parking lot for the town beach suffered extensive damage from Hurricane Sandy in the fall and subsequent winter storms, and much of the sandy bathing area was swept away. The hurricane also caused heavy damage to the short road that extends from the parking lot to the entrance of Squibnocket Farm. That causeway has since been restored. The town has applied for $400,000 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help restore the beach and parking lot area, but no determination has been made.
Mr. Rossi said this week the beach committee is now considering several options, including leasing more beach from abutting owners to increase the bathing area, moving the parking lot back toward the wetlands and firming up better access to Squibnocket Farm, possibly via a bridge across the wetland. The road to the private development is privately owned, but the town has maintained it for some time, Mr. Rossi said. The committee is expected to recommend a long-term plan sometime in June.
“We’re doing all of the plotting and finding out exactly what we have and determine where we want to go,” Mr. Rossi said. “Everyone is on board that we have to make changes.”
Mr. Rossi said it is important to have a town beach at Squibnocket and “it’s an important asset that the town provides for the Island. I’d like to see the beach [be restored] . . . for another generation.”
Selectman Warren Doty agreed and applauded the preliminary plans.
“I think that’s an excellent approach and I endorse it completely,” he said.
The selectmen also approved sending a letter to beach superintendent Martina Mastromonaco notifying her that she must obtain lifeguard certification by July 1 in order for her contract to be renewed. The selectmen changed the job description of the beach superintendent late last year to require lifeguard certification. Ms. Mastromonaco said last month she would not be able to complete the training by summer.