Longtime Chilmark harbor master Dennis Jason will step down before the start of next summer, he told the Chilmark selectmen Tuesday.

Reading aloud from a letter at the regular board meeting, Mr. Jason requested that he be reappointed through fiscal year 2019.

“I . . . offer this letter as my resignation and retirement as harbor master effective June 30, 2019,” he said in part.

“I appreciate the opportunity that I have had to manage the harbor over the past 19 years and feel that I have run an effective and safe harbor for our town in the spirit of our Menemsha fishing village.”

Selectmen offered their appreciation in return.

“I appreciate the 19 years you’ve spent on behalf of the harbor,” selectman James Malkin said. ““I know it hasn’t been easy. Let’s make it a great year.”

Mr. Jason’s tenure has not been without controversy. In 2015 the selectmen reappointed him amid high marks for his skills as a waterman and maritime knowledge, but low marks for public relations in the iconic harbor that is a busy summer hub for commercial fishermen, boaters and tourists.

“I’m 70 now,” he told the Gazette after the meeting.

“There’s a lot of detail that people don’t see,” he said about the position of harbor master. “I think we’ve managed to run a safe harbor.”

In other business, selectmen approved a $100,000 change order for the Squibnocket Beach project in addition to the $450,000 already budgeted. Town conservation agent Chuck Hodgkinson told selectmen that a recent geological survey found sensitive archaeological objects buried in the southern half of the parking lot. The money will be used to raise the area about two feet to provide more coverage. He said contractors also had to tear up the pavement of Squibnocket road and repave it, adding to the expense.

Despite the change order, Mr. Hodgkinson said the project is still on schedule and under budget.

Selectman Warren Doty offered to take charge of a ribbon-cutting ceremony to be scheduled around Memorial Day that would officially open the town beach.

Mr. Jason’s harbor report alerted selectmen to a growing deposit of sand in Menemsha harbor that he said affects about half the available slips. Speaking to the Gazette later by phone, the harbor master explained that the sand buildup is a consequence of the dredging work done in Menemsha Pond last year.

He said sand going out through the channel became trapped in the corner of the jetty, allowing the incoming tide to carry the sand back into the harbor.

“I’ve never seen so much shoaling,” Mr. Jason said, adding that the sand is built up to 10 feet in spots.

Selectmen agreed as a temporary solution to ask John Keene to dig out the current sand buildup between the jetty and transient dock.

Both selectmen and fire chief David Norton gave a thumbs down to two preliminary design proposals from Pacheco Ross for a public safety building on land behind the town hall. Mr. Norton said the plan would severely limit parking and make it difficult for the 35-foot-long fire trucks to pull into the lot.

“You’re basically trying to put 10 pounds of manure in a five-pound bag,” the fire chief said.

The site is restricted by wetland delineations. Selectmen decided to table further discussion until they had reviewed the proposals more thoroughly.

Selectmen also awarded a $100,000 contract to Probuilt Construction of Marshfield for construction of a new Chilmark School playground.

In the annual board reorganization, Jim Malkin will take over as chairman and Mr. Doty will become vice-chairman.