Every year, the Tisbury Great Pond shoreline comes closer to Wesley Edens’s house. Without a huge stone revetment, he, his engineers and lawyers believe, his home will fall into its water view.

But the West Tisbury conservation commission said no to his plan to armor the shoreline, and so now Mr. Edens, a prominent Wall Street financier, and the town are headed for court.

On March 26, the conservation commission denied permission to build a 170-foot stone wall — reduced from the original proposal of 255 feet — along a coastal bank on the eastern side of the pond.

And on May 19, a complaint was filed in Dukes County Superior Court on behalf of Endoftheroad LLC, the legal owner of Mr. Edens’s property on Middle Point Road. It appeals the order issued by the commission, and argues that the revetment project was entitled to approval under the state Wetlands Protection Act. It contends that the state law preempts more stringent local bylaws relating to such a development.

The property owner also has appealed to the state Department of Environmental Protection, but the DEP has yet to act on that.

The matter is sure to be of interest to the owners of other waterfront land on the Vineyard, given the accelerating rate of sea level rise and the rapid retreat of the Island’s shoreline, particularly along the south shore.

The impetus for Mr. Edens’s proposed wall was the fact that the shoreline on his part of the Great Pond has been receding by an average of about two feet per year since at least 1988. Since the house on the property was rebuilt in 1996, the pond has encroached some 30 feet.

The property owners hired a firm of coastal engineers, who determined the only practical way to stop the erosion was to build a rock wall to protect the coastal bank. On Nov. 25, 2009, the engineering company, the Woods Hole Group, filed a notice of intent to build the wall.

But rock revetments are generally frowned upon these days as a solution for coastal erosion. The scientific evidence is that they interfere with the natural process of beach replenishment. They also tend to transfer an erosion problem to somewhere else.

The legal picture also is complicated. Armoring is acceptable for the protection of buildings, but not simply to protect real estate. Was such a large wall required to protect the house, or was it intended to preserve the acreage?

Thus the conservation commission wanted to know what was the minimum length of rock wall necessary to protect the house.

Initially, the proposal was for a 255-foot, low-profile wall. Subsequently, the plan was amended down to 170 feet, and Mr. Edens proposed bringing in some 1,000 cubic feet of fill each year to nourish the beach.

The commission still was not satisfied. In rejecting the plan, commission members suggested there was no urgent need for a rock wall.

“Given that the building is between 85 and 95 feet from the top of the coastal bank, and an erosion rate of one to two feet per year, the building would not be directly threatened for at least 30 years,” the commission said in rejecting the proposal.

The commission also determined the applicant had not given sufficient consideration to alternative “soft engineering” solutions, such as the installation of coir fiber logs.

“The applicant relied on the opinion of CZM [the office of Coastal Zone Management] that a soft engineering measure composed of just coir fiber logs was inappropriate for this site but chose not to incorporate the suggestion of CZM that coir fiber logs be included in the design of a rock revetment at the ends of the structure and that the structure be significantly shortened,” the ruling said.

“Over the course of the hearing, the applicant offered a number of different lengths for the revetment, while the commission repeatedly requested that the applicant submit a plan showing the absolute minimum length needed to protect the building, based on actual engineering calculations.”

Lacking that, the commission said, it was unable to determine the absolute minimum length needed.

And it maintained the presumption that the coastal bank was an important source of sediment which drifted down to adjacent beaches. The commission also noted the concerns of The Trustees of Reservations, owners of an adjacent property, about the potential effects of the planned revetment on its beaches.

In the court complaint attorneys for Mr. Edens cite a letter from the state Division of Fisheries and Wildlife saying the work would not harm protected habitat, provided the proposed beach nourishment did not occur between April 1 and August 31.

The complaint also cites a letter from the Cape and Islands regional coordinator for the Office of Coastal Zone Management, saying the stone wall was preferable to bioengineered structures, like coir logs, because those would require frequent maintenance.

A former partner at Black Rock Financial Management Inc., Mr. Edens founded Fortress Investment Group in 1998. In 2008 he was among the Wall Street financiers who made headlines when the company lost millions in the economic downturn.

Mr. Edens is represented by Eric Wodlinger, a partner at Rackemann Sawyer & Brewster in Boston. The conservation commission has turned the complaint over to West Tisbury town counsel Ronald H. Rappaport to defend its position in court.