Tisbury nixes Cafe Moxie summer construction
Rebuilding efforts for Café Moxie property owners Paul Currier and Michael Ryan have been a matter of hurry up and wait.
After the July 4, 2008 fire that destroyed the restaurant on Main Street, the Tisbury selectmen and town officials worked with Mr. Currier and Mr. Ryan to "fast-track" reconstruction. In January, Tisbury building and zoning inspector Ken Barwick referred their plans to the Martha's Vineyard Commission (MVC), which was necessitated by of a change in the restaurant's intensity of use and an increase in the building size.
The new plans feature a three-story building with a food prep area in the basement, a dining room on the Main Street level, and two apartments on the third floor.
The MVC commissioners, however, voted not to review the project as a development of regional impact, which gave Mr. Ryan and Mr. Currier a green light to proceed with local permitting.
Mr. Ryan, the owner of Island Woodworks and the project contractor, told the commissioners that he aimed to finish the restaurant interior and the building shell in time to open this summer on July 4. He and Mr. Currier subsequently received a Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) permit allowing them to begin construction, provided they stopped work after Memorial Day for the summer season.
At the Tisbury selectmen's March 31 meeting, however, Mr. Currier said construction would be delayed possibly until September, due to a wait on insurance money, and that Café Moxie would not be opening this year. The selectmen told him they wanted the sidewalks by the restaurant on Center and Main Streets repaired and replaced, and the lot secured with a fence around it.
At the selectmen's June 2 meeting last week, however, Mr. Barwick relayed a request from Mr. Currier who wanted to start the framing of the building because finances and resources had become available.
Mr. Barwick said Mr. Currier and Mr. Ryan, who were unable to attend the meeting, estimated the project could be completed in two weeks. The selectmen said they were not convinced that was possible.
"I would have no problem with work being done in the next two weeks, but we can't have construction done there later in June," selectman chairman Tristan Israel said.
Selectman Jeffrey Kristal said he had received phone calls from other Main Street business owners vehemently opposed to the June construction. Selectman Geoghan Coogan said that if the restaurant could be framed now and open sooner it would make a difference in business downtown.
The selectmen, however, voted to ask the Café Moxie owners to postpone construction at their site until September and to submit a timetable of their plans.