State backs Edgartown tour van ban

State backs Edgartown tour van ban

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The state agency that regulates sightseeing tours has ruled that Edgartown can limit tours to two-way streets. The policy effectively bans tour buses or vans from downtown streets.

The ruling came from the state Department of Public Utilities (DPU), after selectmen rejected a plan by businessman Ron Minkin to conduct tours of the historic town center in passenger vans. Mr. Minkin appealed the selectmen’s rejection to state regulators.

“Traffic in downtown Edgartown creates relevant and serious public safety concerns,” wrote Brian Cristy, director of the DPU transportation oversight division in the decision. “Public convenience and necessity is not serviced by allowing non-essential vehicular traffic through congested narrow one-way streets.”

Selectmen have a long-standing agreement with tour bus operators that allows tour buses down Main Street only as far as Church Street to drop off passengers.

Town counsel Ron Rappaport told selectmen of the DPU decision at their Monday meeting.

Also Monday, selectmen voted to grant a seasonal beer and wine license to The Greenhouse, a new restaurant at 6 South Water Street. Brothers Patrick and Ted Courtney plan to renovate a glass greenhouse into a restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating.