Fence rankles State Road, Tisbury business owners

A fence on property at 350 State Road has raised protests from neighboring business owners.

John Rancourt, owner of Island Propane, bought the former site of Louis’s Tisbury Café and Take-Out. Based on past use, customers from neighboring businesses, such as Tisbury Farm Market and Craig’s Bicycles, continued to drive across Mr. Rancourt’s property to enter and exit.

Mr. Rancourt applied to Tisbury’s zoning board of appeals (ZBA) for a special permit to display gas grills, clearance items, fire pits, and wind turbines outside the building. He also asked for permission to display consignment motorcycles as part of his other business, Offshore Cycle, with headquarters at the end of Mechanic Street.

Some abutters at a public hearing by the ZBA on November 18, 2010, objected that motorcycles displayed on Mr. Rancourt’s property would create a gathering place for bikers and result in excess noise and exhaust.

The ZBA voted to approve a special permit for Mr. Rancourt, with eight conditions, including ones that barred outside sales or display of motorcycles and use of the property as a regular gathering spot for bikers, and limited biker events to five per year and motorcycle parking in the front of the building only.

Mr. Rancourt subsequently decided to erect a fence from State Road between his property and Tisbury Farm Market. He contacted Tisbury building and zoning inspector Ken Barwick, who told The Times he reviewed transfer documents on the sale of the property to make sure there were no riders or easements to prevent Mr. Rancourt from closing off part of his lot. Mr. Barwick also verified that the fence setbacks and location setback met zoning bylaw requirements.

The installation of fence posts further exacerbated ill feelings with abutters. Attorney George Brush filed a lawsuit about the fence on their behalf in Land Court.

The ZBA held a public hearing on March 10 to consider Mr. Rancourt’s application for another special permit that would allow motorcycle sales and service on his State Road property. According to draft minutes, Mr. Brush suggested the ZBA should wait to make a decision on the permit until the Land Court case is resolved.

The ZBA voted unanimously to postpone the hearing until April 14 or until Land Court issues a decision.