Edgartown wins court disputes over restaurant, tours


The Massachusetts Land Court has ruled in favor of Edgartown in a dispute over a town board’s decision to permit a new restaurant on South Water Street.

Town counsel Ron Rappaport outlined the decision for selectmen at their Monday meeting.

Karyn Caliri, owner of the Victorian Inn, appealed the decision of the zoning board of appeals (ZBA) to permit a restaurant with outdoor seating at 6 South Water Street, across the street from the inn. She said the ZBA decision was invalid, because the board should have referred the project to the Martha’s Vineyard Commission as a development of regional impact. The land court disagreed and allowed summary judgment for the town.

In another legal issue, the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities, which regulates tour operators, said Edgartown acted legally in denying a street permit to Martha’s Vineyard Transport. Ron Minkin, who owns the company, applied for a permit to conduct sightseeing tours along downtown streets in the spring and fall. In 2010 the board of selectmen denied a permit to conduct tours in the summer months, and denied a permit to conduct tours in the shoulder season in September 2011. The town said the tour vans would pose traffic and safety problems on narrow downtown streets.

Mr. Minkin appealed both those decisions, but the court denied both appeals.

Also at Monday’s meeting, selectmen voted to end scallop fishing in Cape Poge Bay early. Shellfish constable Paul Bagnall told selectmen the action is necessary to protect seed scallops for next season.

The closure is effective Monday, March 19, which means the last day of scalloping is tomorrow, Friday, March 16. Traditionally, scallop season ends March 31. Scalloping is still permitted in outside waters.