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MA - Select Board, SBPF sued over geotube agreement

A group of island residents, including several members of the Nantucket Coastal Conservancy, are taking the Sconset Beach Preservation Fund and the Select Board to court over a memorandum of understanding between the town and SBPF to extend the erosion-control project that’s been at the base of Sconset Bluff for the past eight years.

(May 2, 2022) A group of island residents, including several members of the Nantucket Coastal Conservancy, are taking the Sconset Beach Preservation Fund and the Select Board to court over a memorandum of understanding between the town and SBPF to extend the erosion-control project that’s been at the base of Sconset Bluff for the past eight years.

They argue the board is committing an overreach of power by ignoring the Conservation Commission’s vote to remove the project.

“The board’s attempt to shift regulatory and enforcement authority under the (state wetlands protection) act and the (town wetlands protection) bylaw from the (Conservation) Commission to the board constitutes an unlawful exercise and abuse of the town’s corporate power,” the suit states.

The suit was filed in Nantucket Superior Court Saturday by a group of 17 residents including several members of the Nantucket Coastal Conservancy, a group that formed a decade ago in opposition to the SBPF project.

Plaintiffs claim the agreement strips power from the Conservation Commission, which has ruled on several occasions against the SBPF project, culminating in the removal order issued last summer.

That order came down to a deficit in the amount of sand the SBPF is required to pour over the project to offset the potential for erosion at down-drift beaches. It led to the agreement between the town and SBPF to bring the project into compliance in an attempt to find compromise.

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