The Edgartown historic district commission continued a public hearing Tuesday afternoon on a plan for renovation work on side-by-side properties on South Water street. The commission will revisit the issue again at their next meeting on June 1.
According to attorney Sean Murphy, Cynthia Reed began negotiations last fall to purchase the Vietor property, located next door to her 41 South Water street residence, with the intention of combining the two properties into a single residence. The property at 31 South Water street currently has a house, an in-ground pool and two sheds. The 41 South Water street property has a boathouse.
Mrs. Reed wants essentially to demolish the residence at 31 South Water street, and rebuild a single-family residence with a smaller square footage. Next to that structure, at the 41 South Water street property, she would build a single-bay garage with an attached guest bedroom. The pool and sheds would be removed from the 31 South Water street property. The boathouse, which is situated on the harbor, would remain on the 41 South Water street property.
At the public hearing, Mr. Murphy said the plan would dramatically decrease the density of the two properties.
Mrs. Reed’s plan to buy the property at 31 South Water street is contingent on obtaining approval for the renovations, and Mr. Murphy said following the hearing that wasn’t likely. “I got the impression that they are looking for a different design,” he said after the meeting.
Before the hearing, members of the commission walked to South Water street to view a tacked-up frame showing the new dimensions of the garage planned for 41 South Water street.
A central issue is the viewshed from the street out to the harbor. At the meeting, contractor Jennifer Smith said that the plan would open up harbor views on either side of the new property. But Janice Romanowsky, a neighbor who owns a home across the street, said the garage as planned would obstruct her view of the water from the second and third stories of her home. “I do think we’re taking away some historic views,” she said.
The commission read aloud letters from neighbors in favor of the plan. Abutters Kathie and Peter Weisman wrote: “We have reviewed the plans and we find them compatible with the street and the scale of the existing architecture on South Water street.”
David B. Vietor, whose family owns the property to be sold to Mrs. Reed, wrote that the renovation “should be a major benefit to the neighborhood.” He added: “Mr. and Mrs. Reed have demonstrated their commitment to tasteful and appropriate improvements thanks to the lovely landscaping and renovations to our former property at 41 South Water street. They are proving to be very good neighbors, and we look forward to their continuing presence on South Water street.”
Commission member Carole Berger said she felt that more time is needed to consider the plans. The June 1 hearing will begin at 4:30 p.m.