Proposed new regulations that would cap the number of large events homeowners can hold at their Edgartown properties drew praise from a handful of townspeople Monday. 

The proposed bylaw, the first of its kind on the Island, is set to go before Edgartown voters at town meeting on April 9. 

The select board held a public hearing on the regulation Monday and explained that tweaks were made to the article after residents previously didn’t think the limits were strong enough. Under the proposal, the owner of a private residence in town could not hold more than two events per month with 50 or more people, nor host more than five large events a year.

Those limits could be exceeded if the owner were to get an event permit from the select board, and a new permitting structure was set up in the updated version of the bylaw. Permits would be required if it is believed more than 50 people will show up and be present for longer than an hour, according to the proposal. 

Violations to the bylaw could incur a $300 fine from the town, the state’s maximum fine, as well as injunctive action in the courts. 

The proposed bylaw was drafted after a home on Edgartown-West Tisbury Road held several events connected to a Tennessee whiskey brand this past summer. The events rankled the neighborhood.

Select board chair Arthur Smadbeck said the proposed limits were designed in order to get some guardrails approved at town meeting. If they were more restrictive, he feared the town could head into summer with the same issues as last year.

“We want to bring something to the town that we are sure will pass, that we are hoping will pass,” he said at Monday’s meeting.

About 10 people attended the hearing and neighbors who were previously concerned commended the board. Some reservations remain, though.

“I think it’s a good effort,” said Paul Elliott, a Whalers Walk resident. “I do worry about someone perhaps having a party everyday for 49 people.” 

Another resident suggested dropping the guest threshold to 30. 

Oak Bluffs pondered putting a similar bylaw on its town meeting warrant this spring, and even talked to the state attorney general’s office about its legality. But the Oak Bluffs select board decided to pull the article off the warrant in favor of continuing to work on the bylaw’s language. 

Edgartown officials did note that the town still has noise bylaws that would be enforced and this adds another layer of regulation on top of that. Much of the enforcement would be up to the discretion of police.

Town administrator James Hagerty indicated that the select board could be open to approving homeowners for more events if there was no real community pushback. 

“I think if someone wants to come in every day and file a permit, and there’s no public pushback and there’s no issues, I’m not speaking for the select board but I think [we] would continue to approve it unless there’s community sentiment in that neighborhood that this is causing friction,” he said.