Edgartown restaurant late on disabled access deadline

Edgartown selectmen and town officials listen to Chip Williams, a partner in the restaurant, discuss plans for disabled access at 11 North Water that would require the use of town property. — Photo by Steve Myrick

Edgartown selectmen, in a rare split vote, supported giving the owners of 11 North Water, until September to provide access to the restaurant for people with disabilities. The decision on whether the restaurant can continue operating rests with the Massachusetts Architectural Access Board.

The restaurant is open under a temporary occupancy permit, and has missed a deadline set by the Architectural Access Board for compliance with state disability regulations.

Selectmen began their regular Monday meeting with a site visit to the restaurant on the corner of North Water Street and Mayhew Lane.

Chip Williams, one of three principal owners who opened the restaurant last summer, showed the group where he intends to install an inclined lift, which would carry a wheelchair from the street to the restaurant entrance along rails. The rails would curve around a supporting pillar that sits at the exact corner of the lot lines.

When the meeting continued back at town hall, selectmen expressed concern that the lift would settle on town property, very close to a loading zone, when picking up disabled patrons.

Town counsel Ron Rappaport asked Mr. Williams whether the issue could have been addressed when the new owners renovated the restaurant in 2012. Mr. Williams said it was not something they were directly aware of.

That brought a forceful response from building inspector Lenny Jason, who said the requirement for disabled access was triggered by the renovation of the entry way.

“You were told from the very beginning, don’t touch this,” Mr. Jason said, referring to the entrance. “You moved the damn stairway. I said you’re going to need a variance. The architect told me you were all set. How did you make out? You weren’t all set.”

On December 17, the Architectural Access Board agreed to grant a variance, and authorized the building inspector to issue a temporary occupancy permit. The variance was granted on the condition that work on the lift begin immediately, and the lift be operational by April 1, 2013.

Selectmen Michael Donaroma and Art Smadbeck voted to send a letter to the Architectural Access Board supporting an extension of the occupancy permit until September, while leaving the possibility of using town property open if there is no alternative. Chairman Margaret Serpa supported the extension, but was not willing to allow the use of town property. She voted against the measure.

“I have a problem that this has become our problem to address, when they knew about it when they were doing the construction,” Ms. Serpa said.

Moving plans

Also Monday, selectmen told a representative of International Chimney Corporation that the company could not stage a work barge off Chappaquiddick Point, and use part of the parking lot for building materials to be used on the Schifter project. That project includes moving an 8,300-square-foot seasonal home, a garage and a guesthouse away from the quickly eroding coastal bank on Wasque Point.

The company wanted to stage the barge during parts of July and August, at a time when the ferry and the parking lot are packed with summer visitors.

“You can’t use the Chappy ferry during normal hours,” Mr. Donaroma said. “You can’t use that parking lot during normal hours. We had this discussion a while ago. They said they wouldn’t interfere. You guys have to come up with a plan that doesn’t involve July and August. We’re open to suggestions, but that’s out.”

Town administrator Pam Dolby suggested alternatives that included using the ferry during very early morning hours, or using a helicopter lift to move the materials.

Also Monday, selectmen granted 25/7 Productions/Catwalk Productions general permission to shoot scenes for a Martha’s Vineyard based reality show in Edgartown.

“I’d like to say welcome and appreciate you coming and giving us a heads-up,” Mr. Smadbeck said. “It sounds like fun.”

The production company agreed not to block any public access, and to notify police when and where they intend to shoot.