Edgartown voters may be asked to decide this spring to spend $3 million to buy the so-called Yellow House, a run-down property on Main street owned by the Hall family.

The town community preservation committee will hold a public hearing next week about purchasing or taking through eminent domain the house and surrounding land at 66 Main street, using $1.5 million in community preservation funding set aside for open space and historic preservation. The hearing is set for Thursday, Feb. 2 at 4 p.m. at the town hall.

A separate town meeting article has been drafted that would ask the town to spend another $1.5 million to buy a private parking lot also on the property. The funding mechanism for the article isn’t yet clear.

Pending an affirmative vote by the CPC, both articles are expected to appear on the annual town meeting warrant in April.

Property is in a crumbling state. — Mark Lovewell

The 19th century house located on a quarter-acre of property at the corner of Main and Summer streets formerly housed a bookstore and other retail space but has been vacant for several years. The front of the building is wood clapboard painted yellow, but in recent years it has deteriorated badly.

Owner Benjamin L. Hall Jr. could not be immediately reached for comment Tuesday.

But town plans now call for renovating the Yellow House and leasing it as retail space, turning the lawn between the house and town hall into a small park, and converting the gravel parking lot into public parking. Part of the parking lot could also be used for a future expansion of town hall.

“It’s just been an eyesore too long and we’re always being asked, what are you going to do about the Yellow House,” selectman and community preservation committee chairman Margaret Serpa said Tuesday. She said the town hopes to be able to purchase the property and then work with another party to renovate the building. She said a committee would probably be appointed to move the project forward if the purchase is approved.

Mrs. Serpa said she is not aware that there has been any communication with the Hall family, but she expects pushback.

“I’m sure there will be some opposition,” she said. “Hopefully the townspeople will see what we want to do and approve of it and we’ll be able to move forward and take care of that eyesore.” She said the town has tried to work out arrangements with the owners in the past that haven’t panned out. “I just hope that people will support this because I think it will be such an improvement, and make it something that we’re all proud of,” she said.

The community preservation committee voted in 2014 to allocate funding for the purchase of the house, but then quickly abandoned the plans.

Town records state the house was built in 1805 by Capt. Chase Pease, the county jailer and an early Methodist. An addition to the house served for a time as the town’s first Methodist meeting house. The building was originally one story, and the structure was later lifted and a new first story built underneath, according to records. In more recent memory it was the home of Bickerton & Ripley bookstore until the early 2000s.

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