Beach Street house given go-ahead for demolition

The Edgartown house at 2 Beach Street that is set to be demolished. — File photo by Sam Moore

As the original application approaches its one-year anniversary, the Edgartown planning board voted unanimously Tuesday to approve a proposal by property owner Alexander Marx to demolish an 1890s-era house he purchased at 2 Beach Street and replace it with a new, slightly bigger house.

Neighbors opposed to his building design have stalled the project through a lengthy public permitting process. Abutters and passionate opponents Kim and Barrett Naylor have argued that the house is too big, and historically significant. They also maintained that if voters approve the historic district expansion at annual town meeting, the house would fall within its boundaries. Lawyer George Davis represented the Naylors at all hearings.

Mr. Marx bought the Beach Street house in November 2014 for $1,270,000.

After a series of contentious and postponed hearings, planning board members finally closed the public hearing process of the application on Tuesday night, and voted to approve the demolition with a number of conditions. Among other things, Mr. Marx will be required to provide a detailed construction plan to the planning board, apply for a demolition permit, not harm an elm tree on the Naylor property, and work only between 8 am and 6 pm. Mr. Marx may not do any work between June 15 and Sept. 20.

“We’ve really spent a lot of time with the neighbors,” lawyer Geoghan Coogan, who represented Mr. Marx, told the planning board. He said that Mr. Marx was personally invested in this project because he intends to live there. The new design only increases square footage from 19,026 square feet to 19,065 square feet.

Prior to the vote, members of the planning board praised the process and lauded what they characterized as improvements to the plan. “I think they’ve come a long way in working out some of the issues they’ve had with the neighbors,” planning board member Robert Sparks said. “I don’t have any issues with the project.”