Cease and desist issued on Aquinnah project

Building project deemed to be in violation of state and town wetlands regulations. 

Jeff Elghanayan, owner of 5 Mariners View Lane, received cease and desist order on a project on the property from the Aquinnah conservation commission and the building inspector.

The Aquinnah conservation commission and building inspector Lenny Jason each sent a cease-and-desist order to Jeff Elghanayan for building construction at 5 Mariners View Lane. The alleged building violations were brought up during a Tuesday, June 28, meeting of the Aquinnah planning board. 

According to the commission’s order, Elghanayan was found in violation of multiple wetland regulations at both the state and local level. The construction project, including “multiple buildings, driveway hardscape, small pond, and extensive landscape work,” was being done within the “coastal district and the buffer zone of vegetated wetland,” which are protected areas, without an order of conditions from the commission. Until a public hearing has been held and an order of conditions has been issued by the commission, the construction was ordered to stop.

The commission lists an off-Island address of Laguna Beach, Calif., for Elghanayan.

Meanwhile, the building inspector’s order was issued because Elghanayan did not go to the commission or the planning board to resolve issues regarding the projects, despite Jason telling him to do so. 

“You are hereby ordered to cease and desist from any further construction on your property. Be aware you are subject to a zoning bylaw fine of fifty dollars per day per violation,” Jason wrote. “You have a right to an appeal.”

According to a letter written by town counsel on June 7, Elghanayan can appeal the commission’s orders to Dukes County Superior Court and the state’s Department of Environmental Protection, and Jason’s orders to the Aquinnah zoning board of appeals. Elghanayan has 30 days from June 7 to appeal to the zoning board of appeals, according to the letter. As of Tuesday, it was unclear if an appeal had been filed.

The issue was brought before the planning board to keep them in the loop about the violations. 

“After looking into it, there was no planning board permit that I could find that has been issued for the property, nor could [the conservation commission], and nor could the building inspector,” committee administrative assistant Sophia Welch said. “We are waiting out the 30 days the owner has to appeal the [conservation commission] and building inspector cease-and-desist orders,” she said. “I believe that will be up on July 7, at which point the town would then take further action.” 

“I believe there is a tax issue at stake as well, in terms of paying real estate taxes,” board member Jim Newman added. “It’s an avoidance of taxes.” 

“That’s another potential big violation,” commission chair Sarah Thulin said. “We will wait and follow our attorney’s lead on this, obviously.” 

Newman said an assessor’s evaluation of the property and the buildings may also be necessary. Welch said this information could be checked on the town’s geographic information system, although she is unaware of the tax issue. Newman told Welch he will meet with her to discuss this. 

Elghanayan was not immediately available for comment.


  1. Elghanayan obviously doesn’t know or care that he is messing with sacred ground and wetlands. He will, though, when his buildings are swallowed by the Earth. Indeed, the spirits will get his attention.

Comments are closed.