Mary and Jackson Kenworth said this week that they are working on a scaled-down plan to rebuild the former Deon’s restaurant in North Tisbury.

Mrs. Kenworth said she hoped to have a new design of 2,000 square feet to show the West Tisbury zoning board of appeals tomorrow night.

The board continues a public hearing on the restaurant plan at 6 p.m. at the town hall.

The Kenworths, who own the Slice of Life restaurant in Oak Bluffs, want to take over the restaurant which closed after a fire in November of 2007. The Kenworths want to operate the restaurant year-round. They initially applied for permission to expand the building to 2,500 square feet and increase seating from 44 to 60, with parking for 22 cars.

The building, whose use as a restaurant dates back for some 30 years, is a pre-existing nonconforming business in a residential area.

The Kenworths have applied to the zoning board for a special permit and two public hearings have been held. At issue is whether the board may legally allow a special permit, since West Tisbury zoning bylaws restrict commercial use in a residential area to 2,000 square feet without a variance. The calculation of square footage is also a matter for potential dispute; the existing restaurant is 1,583 square feet but a basement area, which has not been used before as a restaurant, brings the total square footage of the building to 2,153 square feet

The board sought the advice of special counsel on the matter last week.

In an opinion dated July 15, Adam Costa said he believes it is up to the board to decide how to calculate the maximum square footage, whether 2,000 or 2,153. But he also wrote: “any increase in square footage beyond that currently existing, of if larger, permitted in the bylaw, requires a variance.”

Eric Wodlinger, an attorney who represents the Kenworths and has also represented the Martha’s Vineyard Commission for many years, had a different opinion. “It is within the ZBA’s power to interpret its bylaw to allow the proposed expansion by special permit . . .” Mr. Wodlinger wrote in an e-mail to Mr. Costa.

Mrs. Kenworth said yesterday she remains hopeful that the plan can still go forward. “We’re still gathering information and working with our architects trying to bring it in at 2,000 square feet,” she said.

“We’re being sensitive to everyone’s concerns. We are trying to make it work but we really need those 60 seats,” she said.

Public comment on the restaurant plan has been mostly positive with some two dozen letters in support of the project. But there is some opposition from neighbors, including the owner of a bed and breakfast next door, who are concerned about noise and parking lot encroachments historically associated with the restaurant.

The Kenworths have said they will do everything they can to address the problems.