The Edgartown selectmen have reconsidered granting a liquor license to Edgartown Books after learning they did not have the proper approval from other town boards.
Last week, the board approved an all-alcohol license for the cafe behind the bookstore. On Monday, chairman Margaret Serpa said the zoning board of appeals notified selectmen that when the bookstore applied for a special permit in January 2014, they did not mention that they would be serving alcohol or anything besides coffee and pastries. The zoning board said this was a significant change.
Mrs. Serpa said the owners must apply to the zoning board of appeals to amend their special permit. They are scheduled to meet with the board on April 30. Meanwhile, selectmen voted to reconsider their vote and table the approval until necessary permits and approvals are received from the zoning board of appeals and the board of health.
The Main street bookstore has undergone a revival since it was purchased by Jeffrey and Joyce Sudikoff in 2012. “They feel that it should be a gathering place for people in town,” Edgartown Books attorney Sean Murphy told the selectmen last week.
Last year the bookstore opened a coffee shop called Behind the Bookstore with outdoor seating.
Bookstore owners have since purchased a former law office tucked behind the building and are turning it into a kitchen and service area.
Besides coffee and espresso, the new cafe will offer breakfast and sandwiches and salads for lunch and dinner, Mr. Murphy told selectmen at their meeting last week. The purpose of the alcohol license is “just to enhance the experience of people coming to the coffee shop,” Mr. Murphy said. He said the cafe will close at 10 p.m. in the summer months when the bookstore closes.
The main focus remains bookselling, he said.
Selectmen said they received one letter about the proposal, a letter in support from Charlotte Inn owner Gerret Conover.
Mr. Murphy said the project still needs the approval of the board of health and the building inspector.
In other business at last week’s meeting, the Chappaquiddick wireless committee came before selectmen to reiterate their opposition opposed to a cell tower on the small island and preference for a distributed antenna system (DAS).
In recent years the town has issued requests for proposals for cell service providers to build a DAS system, but there have been no takers. More recently Chappaquiddick wireless members have come before selectmen to discuss whether to open the proposals up to cell towers and how to move forward. Selectmen discussed putting out requests for proposals that were broadened to include cell towers.
But Fran Clay said the committee agreed that a DAS system would be best for Chappaquiddick and allowing or encouraging a cell tower would undermine the effort to find a DAS developer.
“We believe that a DAS or a comparable alternative should be the only system that our town should consider at this time,” Mrs. Clay said. A new cell antenna being placed in a silo on Katama might improve service on Chappaquiddick, she added.
Selectmen said with that decision, the quest to get cell service on Chappaquiddick was at an end.
“This has gone on what, three years? And nothing has happened,” selectman and board chairman Margaret Serpa said. “We’re at a dead end.”
“We haven’t gotten any response and you guys don’t want anything but this [DAS] system,” selectman Arthur Smadbeck said. “So I would say that the basically the wireless committee probably did it’s job. I think we’re at the end of the road. And it’s too bad that it didn’t work out.”
But committee member Roger Becker said the committee didn’t want to disband. “Eventually DAS will come to Chappaquiddick . . . assuming you don’t undermine it with some secondary proposal or something less,” he said. The committee said they hope to talk more to providers about what could entice someone to come to Chappaquiddick.
Mr. Smadbeck was not convinced. “We’ve come up against a brick wall or you’ve come up against a brick wall,” he said. “If that’s the only system that would be acceptable to Chappaquiddick, there may not be any cell service there for a long time.”
Mrs. Serpa said she thought it was fine for the committee to continue to meet but there was nothing more the town could do. “The thing is we’re not answering the needs of other people that have expressed the need for cell service,” she added. “We’re at a dead end, we’re at a stand still.”
Town administrator Pamela Dolby said she has heard from Chappaquiddick residents who do want cell service. “I get calls all summer long,” she said.
Selectmen discussed having a public hearing this summer to hear from residents about needs on Chappy. “We’ll go from there” Mrs. Serpa said.
Selectmen agreed to allow Among the Flowers to sell alcohol at 10 a.m. instead of 11 a.m., on Sundays. They also heard a complaint from an abutter to the Nunnepog solar project.
They also signed off on an agreement for the Martha’s Vineyard Museum to continue its stewardship of the Edgartown lighthouse The town recently took ownership of the lighthouse after the Coast Guard declared it surplus property.