Kelly House gets green light for outdoor dining in Edgartown

Edgartown officials are concerned about people sitting on the low rail along the travel lane, or stumbling into the narrow roadway. — Photo by Ralph Stewart

Edgartown selectmen Monday approved a plan to expand the licensed area of the Kelly House and Newes From America Pub, so the establishment can serve food and alcohol in an outdoor seating area under the hotel’s long balcony. The zoning board of appeals approved a plan for a 36-seat outdoor dining area earlier this year, with conditions that include no food or drink served after 10 pm, and alcohol served only with food.

In addition to approval by selectmen, who act as the alcohol licensing authority, The Kelly House still needs approval from the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission. State officials are not expected to act on the application until late in the summer season.

Also Monday, selectmen voted to pursue safety improvements on Big Bridge, where people gather on hot summer days to jump into the channel.

Town officials are concerned about people sitting on the low rail along the travel lane, or stumbling into the narrow roadway.

“It’s a bad situation,” highway superintendent Stuart Fuller said. “In the past we put up snow fence, but it’s unsightly, and we could be on the hook for liability associated with that.”

Chairman Michael Donaroma said the town has no legal right to modify the state-owned bridge. Town officials say the state insists that the rail is properly designed to keep automobiles from straying off the roadway, and will not make further changes.

“What they have now is more dangerous than if they had nothing at all,” selectman Art Smadbeck said.

Mr. Fuller said he hoped that a change in personnel at the Massachusetts Department of Transportation region that regulates the region could mean a new outlook from state officials. “Maybe this year we should put that back on their plate,” he said. “It’s their bridge, they should operate it, police it, and maintain it in a safe way. We’re asking them to do what they are supposed to do”

In other action, selectmen set a hearing for July 30 at 4 pm to decide whether to take action on the alcohol license held by Sophia’s One Stop Shop on Upper Main Street. In each of the past two years, the convenience store has twice sold alcohol to an underage teen working on behalf of police as part of a sting operation.

Fred “Ted” Morgan, a former selectman and organizer of Edgartown’s popular July 4th parade, came to thank selectmen and a long list of other volunteers for their help in staging the event.

Mr. Morgan said last week that this year’s parade was his last as organizer, after 43 years.

“That was a great parade,” Mr. Morgan said. “I’ve never been completely happy with our parade, but this one worked out perfectly.”

Selectmen congratulated parade float winners, including Camp Jabberwocky, which won the $1,000 grand prize, Pond View Farm, which won the most patriotic award, Angel Flights, which won the most original award, and Little League of Martha’s Vineyard, which scored a hit with the special prize.