Edgartown selectmen take up curb cuts, house demoliton

A routine request for a curb cut proved somewhat less than routine at the Edgartown selectmen’s meeting on Monday.

Contractor Norman Rankow applied for the permit in order to move a driveway. According to Mr. Rankow, the property at 42 Morse Street is under agreement for purchase by a neighboring property owner, who intends to demolish the bungalow-style guest house and the single-family home that is there now, to build a three bay garage.

“That’s unfortunate, very unfortunate,” selectman Margaret Serpa said.

Mr. Rankow said he had offered the buildings to affordable housing advocates, if they could move them to another location, but got no takers.

He said demolition of the two buildings won’t begin until after the parties close on the real estate deal, so there is still time to move the buildings, “if somebody picks up the phone and says we can use it.”

Selectmen approved the curb cut, on the condition that no street parking spaces are lost, and it is no wider than the current driveway.

“My main concern is setting a precedent in having three bay driveways,” Ms. Serpa said.

Also on Monday, selectmen held a public hearing to gather opinion on Community Development Block Grant funding for next year. Christina Brown, a member of the town’s affordable housing committee, said the committee would offer some changes in the community development strategy document required in the grant application. Selectmen also authorized grant administrator Alice Boyd to invite the towns of Aquinnah, Chilmark, and West Tisbury to join in the application.

The Massachusetts department of Housing and Community Development disqualified all Island towns from competing for the federal grants this year, because of a technical glitch in advertising the public hearing.

“We’ve fixed that, we know we’ll be successful this year,” Ms. Boyd said.

In other business, selectmen: set October 3 for a hearing on an application from Atria to change from a seasonal to an annual alcohol license for the popular restaurant; voted to reduce the $150 fee for a one-day beer and wine license to $50 for non-profit organizations; voted to accept a $20,000 donation from James Schwartz to dredge the Edgartown Lighthouse pond; and accepted the resignation of Pam Scott from the historic district commission;