Edgartown residents rally for harbor view


A small group of Islanders gathered outside Edgartown Town Hall Wednesday afternoon to oppose plans for the expansion of an oceanfront home on South Water Street.

About a dozen people, mostly residents of the South Water Street neighborhood, gathered to hold a discussion with Patrick Ahearn, the architect of the $15 million house at 81 South Water Street. 

Rally participants say the plans don’t correspond to the historic bylaws of the neighborhood; they are also worried that the house will block an already limited view of Edgartown Harbor that’s been obstructed by other developments over the years. 

Attendees held placards that expressed their dissent against the proposed design of the house, reading “save the view” and “save our street.”

Lucy Dahl, a resident of the neighborhood, organized the gathering to facilitate a discussion with Ahearn to address concerns. 

She said that Edgartown has become synonymous with its unique architectural style and scenic views over the years, and there’s a fear that’s going to be lost.

“My biggest concern is that the entire town of Edgartown is being changed from beautiful dwelling houses … and we are losing what Edgartown is,” she said.

Ahearn brought pictures of the existing house and designs of the proposed project to explain the architectural changes in an attempt to address the residents’ concerns. 

He also said that plans had been updated to ease concerns about the harbor view. He said they no longer plan to have an open porch next to the house, which he said would keep the existing view of the harbor intact.

Ahearn will be presenting plans to the town in June. A public hearing before the Edgartown Historic District Commission originally planned for Thursday, May 18th has been rescheduled until June 1st.  The town’s website said that the rescheduling was due to a misprint of the zoom address mailed to abutters.


  1. Growing up in Edgartown I always admired the views from both North and South water Streets. It will be a sad day if the view gets taken away thats for sure

  2. I am sympathetic to the neighbors on this, but I can’t see how they can win their case if the Owner is complying with local zoning? I do not know what jurisdiction the Historical commission has which could be a factor. Often we see these cases sent to the MVC, but that weakens the MVC when small projects are accepted and then stretched into having an Island wide regional impact.

  3. People need to understand the role Ahearn plays in these renovations all across the island. He is a key player in transforming the nature of what Martha’s Vineyard looks like and shows us to be. It’s good he went to Town Hall. He needs to think about how his architecture has helped change what we know from good to gaudy, from traditional to uncharacteristic modern, from Vineyard to everywhere else.

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