To the Editor:
This is an open letter to the people of Edgartown and South Water Street.
Point Way Inn, 148 Main Street, The Captain Dexter House, The Shiretown Inn, The Chadwick Inn, The Daggett House — they’re all gone. The character of Edgartown is changing. The Inns and hotels add charm and vitality to the village and support tourism, which provides a much needed source of revenue for the entire Island business community, and they are going away. Perhaps you care, perhaps you don’t. I do. I feel the village of Edgartown is a special place for sailors, lovers of history, architecture, romantic getaways, peace and quiet.
A restaurant with a “revised” seating count, one seat less than the required threshold for a referral to the MVC, has been approved by the ZBA too hastily and must be redone. Several critical steps were omitted or overlooked. Why?
The hstoric district commission that has required hearings for rose trellises (which had to be modified), mandated that new siding be removed from the Federated Church after installation because it was “improper material,” repainting, removal and modification of arbors, shutters and even flower boxes, but a 49-seat, outdoor restaurant, next to the sidewalk, with an outdoor kitchen on South Water Street doesn’t even need a review. Really? Why’s that?
The Shelia Allen store on Main Street was told to remove the music speaker they had hung outside last year, but four outdoor speakers were granted “for background music” for a fast food restaurant on South Water Street that is abutted by three inns? Really?
The town can’t wait to re-approve this plan and avoid the MVC’s scrutiny, which is appropriate and mandated by protocol. Too bad. Too bad for the voters of Edgartown who have repeatedly made their wishes to remain in the MVC known by their ballots. And this is exactly why impartial, professional, and objective review of projects that have political undercurrent, conflict and influences which are outside the public view are the specialty of the MVC.
It may make them unpopular with the people that want to get things done their way, but it is that very reason the state created the MVC. Change is inevitable and even change for the better is difficult at first. This “café” is not a change for the better, nor is it an appropriate plan for the historic district of Edgartown where sea captains and whalers built their homes, and even Herman Melville spent his summers. Please say something if you feel the same way.
Stephen and Karyn Caliri
The Victorian Inn