Edgartown reworks seasonal business schedule

Chappy Ferry will be closed to vehicles for a weekend in May.

Rosewater Wine and Spirits extended their seasonal liquor license to the end of last year and will reopen April 25. —Hayley Duffy

The Edgartown select board is updating its rules for how long seasonal restaurants and package stores can stay open into the winter after hearing from one concerned year-round restaurant manager who was worried about losing business.

The town, this past year, allowed seasonal liquor licenseholders to extend their seasons from Nov. 30 to Dec. 31. On Monday, the select board decided to move the date back two weeks, to Dec. 15. But as part of their decision, if businesses want to extend through the last two weeks of December, they can make that request with the select board.

Some businesses have been supportive of extending the seasonal license until the end of the year. Management of the Harbor View Hotel and MV Wine & Spirits sent letters of support for the seasonal license extension. 

“This extension would allow seasonal businesses to continue serving all our customers and contributing to the vibrant atmosphere of our town during the important and increasingly popular winter months,” said Alton Chun, chief operation officer for the Harbor View Hotel, in a letter to the select board.

But at least one year-round restaurant manager does not like the idea. A number of staff from Alchemy attended Monday’s meeting to oppose the extension to Dec. 31. There has been increased competition, which cuts into “their piece of the pie,” said James Kuss, general manager of Alchemy.

For example, Kuss said, the restaurant made about 60 percent of what it normally makes on New Year’s Eve, and had a decrease in business during a final push between Christmas and the end of the year.

“With the extension of liquor licenses last year to other restaurants, the staff experienced more than a month’s rent payment missed for January,” said Kuss. “We’re forced to stay open through February, March, April, and it’s ironic that of all the people that did opt for extensions last year, none are open right now when they can be open.”

Rosewater Wine and Spirits was approved to stay open until the end of last year and will reopen April 25.

The board originally hoped that all businesses would come together and work out a plan among themselves, but board members noted that hasn’t happened yet. Instead, they decided to set the extended seasonal license to Dec. 15, and provide an extension to businesses beyond that if they apply.

In other Edgartown business, the Chappy Ferry will be out of commission for vehicles, starting at 9 am on Saturday, May 11, through Sunday, May 12, at 3 pm, in order to allow for the installation of a new ramp. 

Passengers will still be allowed to travel across the channel, and Peter Wells, owner of the Chappy Ferry, has arranged a plan for emergency vehicle passage. 

If weather conditions don’t permit installation, this will take place the following weekend.

Wells was unanimously granted a block permit for the sections of the parking lot on Chappaquiddick from Friday, May 10, to Tuesday, May 14. 

In other news, the board unanimously approved Michael Donaroma as the new select board chair. Monday was Arthur Smadbeck’s last time leading the select board meetings for the year.