A lawsuit playing out now in the Massachusetts land court pits the town of Aquinnah’s efforts to improve the experience of visitors to the Gay Head Lighthouse against the rights of nearby condominium residents to enjoy their homes in peace and privacy.

The legal dispute stems from the relocation of the Gay Head Light in May of 2015, in order to protect it from the eroding clay cliffs. According to the lawsuit, the iconic lighthouse, which was once 255 feet away from the condominiums, is now 115 feet from the buildings.

Filed Dec. 13, the lawsuit alleges that the town has not kept its promises about protecting the condominium owners’ privacy, while overstepping its authority in seeking to develop two town-owned parcels abutting the lighthouse property.

In answering the original complaint, the town of Aquinnah and its planning board say the condominium owners have no standing to challenge the town’s actions in court, and that the town is well within its rights to make changes in the two properties, including a homestead known as the Manning property.

Since 2016, the town has worked on a visioning process to tie together the various attractions surrounding the Aquinnah Circle.

“There have been a number of town residents who have worked really hard to put together a plan that works to improve Aquinnah Circle, the lighthouse, the Manning property, and the shops at the cliffs, to get one unified visitor experience up there,” said town administrator Jeffrey Madison. “I don’t know that the lawsuit is holding anything up. The people that own those condos have a right to be heard, and they are obviously exercising that right.”

Suing the town, its planning board, and members of the planning board individually are the owners of condominiums at 1, 3, 5 and 7, Aquinnah Circle. They are Renee Pianka, James Pianka, Lawrence Wells and Joan Goodman, individually and as trustee of Island End Condominium.

Also named as plaintiffs are David Schwartz and Bruce Levkoff, as trustee of Pelican Realty Trust. The plaintiffs are represented by Brian Hurley of the Boston law firm Rackemann, Sawyer and Brewster.

Named as defendants in the lawsuit are the town of Aquinnah, the town planning board, and all the individual members of the planning board.

When the Gay Head Lighthouse was moved to its current location in 2015, the planning board issued a list of temporary measures to mitigate the impact on the condominium owners. In their lawsuit, the owners now charge the planning board has changed those measures in ways that violate their privacy.

“The lighthouse decision originally required the town, ‘to ensure public safety and keep people moving at the viewing gallery level and away from the condominium’s side, limit the total number of people in the lighthouse at any one time to eight,’” the lawsuit charges. “The amended conditions decision modified [the condition] so that now 25 people may be allowed in the lighthouse at one time. This will result in a significant increase in adverse impacts to the condominium.”

Other changes the lawsuit charges will impact the condominium owners are an increase in the number of evenings the lighthouse will be open from no more than one evening per week, to four evenings per week.

The temporary restrictions called for no more than four weddings per year at the lighthouse, while the amended conditions issued by the planning board increased that to eight weddings per year, according to the complaint.

In its answer to the lawsuit, the town, through its counsel Ron Rappaport of the Edgartown firm Rappaport, Reynolds, Kaplan and Hackney, said the complaint mischaracterizes some of the charges, and denies the conditions will have an adverse impact on the condominium owners.

In their lawsuit, the condominium owners also object to plans approved by the planning board to develop two lots purchased by the town in the months before the lighthouse was moved, known as the Manning site.

“The Manning site project will significantly increase commercial activity at the Manning site,” the lawsuit charges. “This will result in increased traffic on the roads leading to and from the condominium. It will also result in decreased privacy for the plaintiffs and increased noise impacts to the condominiums.”

In its answer to the complaint, the town denies those allegations.

Historically, the Manning property belonged to Helen Manning, a Wampanoag tribal elder, former Aquinnah selectman and educator, who died in 2008. She and her then husband, Captain James Manning, opened a family restaurant on the property in 1961. The restaurant was closed after Captain Manning’s death in 1974, but the community continued to use Ms. Manning’s property as a gathering place.

The three structures on the Manning property are Helen Manning’s house, the former restaurant building, and the former fry shack.

In November of last year, the town’s planning board approved plans to move the Helen Manning house closer to the old restaurant and fry shack buildings. They also approved the construction of an outdoor deck connecting all three buildings.

Doing so would “encourage a community gathering place that offers spectacular views of the Moshup Trail area and the South Head and greatly improve the use of this public space,” the decision said.

There are no official plans for exactly how the buildings will be used, though a lighthouse museum and community gathering place have been discussed.

“There are those in town who would love to see a lighthouse museum happen, but that has been discussion only, and there is no plan in place for that particular use, or any other particular use, at this time,” Derrill Bazzy, chairman of Aquinnah’s Community Preservation Committee, said in an email.

Preliminary conceptual drawings for the site presented to Aquinnah selectmen last fall show a bus stop, parking and a path to the cliffs.

Mr. Hurley, who represents the plaintiffs in the case, also represents the Martha’s Vineyard Commission (MVC). The MVC has designated the area that includes the lighthouse and Manning site as a district of critical planning concern (DCPC). Due to a stipulation in state ethics law, the Martha’s Vineyard Commission and all six towns’ boards of selectmen had to give their approval by granting the firm a special municipal employee designation in order for Mr. Hurley to represent the plaintiffs in the case.

Though boards of selectmen in all six towns agreed, there was some skepticism. Jeffrey (Skipper) Manter 3rd of West Tisbury voted against allowing Mr. Hurley to represent the private clients.

“I think they should get another lawyer,” he said. “Full transparency, I don’t agree.”

Tisbury selectman Tristan Israel said, “It’s interesting. We’ve never had to do that before.”