The Edgartown historic district commission took the first formal step Monday toward expanding the town’s historic district.
At their regular meeting, the selectmen approved the commission’s request to begin drawing up new boundaries for the oddly shaped district that leaves parts of downtown Edgartown outside of its boundaries.
The district should be “more concise,” James Cisek, chairman of the commission, told the board.
“This was the first step,” Mr. Cisek said in a later interview. There have been frequent discussions about extending the district, he said, because of homes on the fringe of the district that are not protected from being demolished.
In September, plans to demolish a 1920s bungalow outside the historic district, at the corner of Morse and North Summer streets, demonstrated the limits of the current historic district.
About 200 homes would be added to the expanded district, Mr. Cisek said, with future historic commission meetings deciding the placement of the new boundaries. The process also includes approval from the state historic commission and the Edgartown planning board and public hearings. A new historic district would have to be approved by a two-thirds vote at town meting.
Selectman Margaret Serpa told Mr. Cisek that the commission likely faces an 18-month long process. The current district was established in 1987.
“A lot of people are probably going to be opposed to it,” Mr. Cisek noted.
The commission has applied for $12,500 in Community Preservation Act funds to finance the project, Mr. Cisek said, with potential for matching funds from the state.
In other business, the selectmen gave Stuart Fuller, the highway superintendent, and town accountant Kimberly Kane high marks during their annual reviews. “We’re fortunate to have Stuart,” Ms. Serpa said. “We’re very thankful you are in the position doing the job you do,” selectman Arthur Smadbeck told Ms. Kane.
The selectmen also announced that water commissioner William Erickson has resigned. Letters of interest are due on Dec. 12 at noon.
Matt Brackman told the selectmen that the inaugural Vineyard warrior triathalon was “very successful,” with 234 athletes completing the arduous course and no injuries.
At the meeting, the historic district commission honored John and Judith Tankard with the first Historic District Excellence Award. The Tankards did interior renovations and partial demolition on their half-Cape home at 16 School street around 2004 and 2005, said assistant building inspector Kim Rogers. Estimates date the home to 1780.
The award recognizes the homeowners for “outstanding efforts in the renovation of their home,” Ms. Rogers said, and for “working well with the historic district commission.” The Tankards went above and beyond what was required, she added.
The historic district commission plans to present the award once or twice yearly to Edgartown historic district homeowners who preserve or renovate their homes.
“We run into people who want to do things that aren’t in keeping with a historic district,” Mr. Cisek told the Gazette, but the commission wants to honor those who have made good efforts in keeping the historic character of their homes and working with the historic district commission.