Edgartown balances restaurant sidewalk seating, pedestrian space

— File photo by Ralph Stewart

Edgartown selectmen voted Monday to amend the Atlantic Restaurant’s alcohol license to allow service at sidewalk seating in front of the Lower Main Street restaurant next summer.

The expanded seating is expected to take up most of the area of the restaurant’s privately owned sidewalk.

The Edgartown zoning board of appeals (ZBA) has already approved the outdoor seating, which will be surrounded by a fence.

“It’s going to be a little bit tight because of the trees and the lamp post,” attorney Sean Murphy, who represents the restaurant, told selectmen. “We have the right under the ZBA decision to serve food out there. It’s just a matter of whether we can serve alcohol.”

Alan Gowell opposed the plan. He said the new seating area will leave pedestrians with only six inches of sidewalk.

“Pushing a baby carriage, a wheel chair, I don’t think it can be done,” Mr. Gowell said. “I don’t think there’s enough space.”

Selectman Art Smadbeck said he had no problem with the plan. “There isn’t room now,” Mr. Smadbeck said. “We have lamp posts and we have a tree that sits in the sidewalk. That side of the street is already problematic.”

Selectmen approved the plan in a 2-0 vote. Chairman Michael Donaroma recused himself, because he is a member of the private Boathouse Club in the same building.

Also Monday, selectmen discussed how to attract new bids for the Warren House. Selectmen hoped to open bids at their Monday meeting, but no bids were submitted for the town-owned property on North Water Street. The requests for bids included a minimum bid requirement of $2.5 million. Special town meeting voters approved a bond to purchase the historic home for $3.5 million in 2005.

The town faces legal restrictions from public bidding laws on how the property is marketed. They agreed to meet with legal counsel and explore whether they can hire a broker, or put the property on the multiple listing service LINK.

In other action, selectmen accepted the resignation of wastewater commission chairman Cliff Karako, and offered their thanks.

They agreed to close town hall at noon on the day before Thanksgiving.

The board closed its meeting with a moment of silence for Ralph Case, a town employee for 40 years, who died unexpectedly last week.