Edgartown selectmen vote to curtail pool bar operating hours

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Selectmen Arthur Smadbeck, Chairman Margaret Serpa, and selectman Michael Donaroma. – Rich Saltzberg

Edgartown selectmen voted unanimously Monday afternoon to approve an alteration of premises application made by the Harbor View Hotel pursuant to its pool bar alcohol license. The board gave its approval, with the stipulation the bar’s operating hours be reduced.

The board held a hearing on that application on Dec. 16, following complaints made by hotel neighbors to the state. Neighbors previously argued to the Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission (ABCC) that the hotel put the cart before the horse by moving and rebuilding its pool bar prior to securing an amendment to the alcohol license connected to the bar. The hearing drew heated criticism from neighbors, several of whom said the relocated pool bar was now a noise nuisance. The board closed that hearing without making a decision on the application. Many of the same neighbors who appeared at the hearing have been embroiled in litigation and zoning board of appeals challenges with the hotel since the pool bar opened this summer. 

Selectman Arthur Smadbeck initiated deliberation on the pool bar Monday afternoon, and put forth the idea of restricting hours. “My suggestion is a compromise … to agree and pass the alteration of premises, but put an hour restriction of noon to six on the outside bar that’s been moved.” He went on to say, “I don’t think it’s going to be a big hardship on the people at the pool.” He said one of his reasons for holding such an opinion was that swimming is largely a daytime activity. He also said such truncated operating hours still encompass “cocktail hour,” and would provide a solution for the noise complaints, which seem to primarily come at night.

“It’s really a ZBA thing, but I like what Art’s saying,” selectman Michael Donaroma said. He added, “It’s something.”

“They can still find alcohol inside,” chairman Margaret Serpa said, in reference to other bars governed by other licenses inside the hotel proper. 

“And go where they will,” Donoroma added. 

After very little other discussion, the board took its vote on the matter.

In other business, the board voted unanimously to reappoint James Joyce to the Martha’s Vineyard Commission.