Neighbors want dirt path near Pennywise Preserve blocked

Speeding vehicles make the Edgartown dirt road unsafe.

The dirt path near Pennywise Preserve. - Photo by Stacey Rupolo

A dirt path near Pennywise Preserve is unsafe because there are cars and dirt bikes speeding on it, according to residents who live on nearby 18th Street.

On Monday, Rick and Doreen DeTucci and Rick Willoughby asked the Edgartown board of selectmen to close the road, saying it has morphed from a path to a cut-through between 18th and 16th streets.

Last year, the same neighbors won concessions from the town to put up a street light and from the Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank to put a locked gate after hours at Pennywise Preserve.

Even huge puddles in the rutted dirt road aren’t enough to deter speeders and dirt bikes, Mr. DeTucci told selectmen. “I truly believe we’re putting folks at risk by leaving it as is,” he said.

There are children who play and ride bicycles on 18th Street, and they’re not prepared for the cars that speed onto it from the path, Mr. Willoughby said. “I’m scared to death for these kids,” he said.

Georgiana Greenough, a planning board assistant, said that board has looked at the road and called it a “troublesome area” in need of a solution. “We would be anxious to work with you to try and solve that problem,” she told selectmen.

Town administrator Pam Dolby cautioned the board from making a decision to close the road without holding a public hearing. She also pointed out that the town’s highway superintendent, Stuart Fuller, was not at Monday’s meeting to hear the discussion and weigh in.

“If you’re going to close a road that people use, you should have a public hearing,” Ms. Dolby said.

No date has been set.

In other business, the board of selectmen set the hours for restaurants to serve alcohol until 12:30 am through Labor Day and extended the time for the last person to leave the premises to 1:30 am. For the Fourth of July holiday, last call will be at 1 am from Saturday to Tuesday with a deadline of 2 am for all patrons to hit the streets.

The board also extended the hours of operation for Edgartown Diner on Fridays and Saturdays until 12:30 am through Sept. 2.

Selectmen also approved an aquaculture lease for Alex Friedman, pending his successful negotiations with the current leaseholder, Patricia Sharples. A public hearing is scheduled for July 10.

The board praised Deputy Fire Chief Alex Schaeffer, who received his certification as a fire chief.