The following letter from the Nantucket Coastal Conservancy was sent to the Board of Selectmen, appears on the selectmen's page of the town web site and is a letter to the editor in the June 5, 2014 issue of the Inquirer & Mirror:
June 4, 2014
The Board of Selectmen
Town of Nantucket
Nantucket MA 02554
Dear Members of the Board:
After seven months of hearings, Nantucket’s Conservation Commission, our regulatory body charged
with upholding both the local Wetlands Bylaw and the State Wetlands Protection Act, has determined
that the geotube coastal engineering structure installed below the bluff in Sconset does not meet the
performance standards of either law. Specifically, the Commission found, by a vote of 4-to-2, that the
project will have adverse environmental impacts and that there are, in fact, reasonable alternatives that
will cause less harm.
The process has been a long and arduous one. The Commissioners, volunteers all, have distinguished
themselves by their fairness, their painstaking thoroughness, their thoughtfulness and their careful
consideration of the proposal before them.
Some are, understandably, disappointed with the outcome. However, we look to you, our highest elected
officials, to, first and foremost, abide by the decision of the ConCom.
Further, we respectfully request that you act expeditiously and decisively to: one, have the geotubes
removed; two, secure alternative access to the structures located on northern Baxter Road should the
roadway be breached: and three, exercise the leadership needed to bring our fractured community
It should be noted that should a real emergency occur, you have adopted an Emergency Plan
recommended by your Emergency Management Coordinator and Department of Public Works Head that
would, among other things, relocate Baxter Road landward within the current road layout, providing
additional time to secure alternative access.
As we become more informed about erosion and the ways to adapt to it in an era of rising sea level, we
are confident that working together we can develop resiliency strategies that balance, on one hand, the
need to provide protection for coastal development and infrastructure and, on the other, preserve our
island’s coastal environmental resources, especially natural beaches.
We commit to working with you and with members of our community, on both the local and regional
levels, to find a way forward that achieves the delicate balance we all seek and, most important, is
consistent with the legacy of environmental stewardship we have inherited from those who have come
D. Anne Atherton
for the NCC Coordinating Team
COPY: The Nantucket Inquirer and Mirror