Edgartown selectmen Monday turned down 11 North restaurant’s proposal to make the restaurant wheelchair accessible, with selectmen and town officials saying they didn’t like the plan to use town property for a wheelchair ramp and chastising the restaurant for not dealing with the issue earlier.
When the restaurant opened last fall under new ownership, the entrance to the building was rebuilt so that stairs lead up to the front door. The state Architectural Access Board denied a variance for the building last fall.
The ownership sought approval Monday for an incline lift, a platform that would travel on railings and could lift someone in a wheelchair from the street level to the front door. Chip Williams, representing the ownership, said that when in use, the platform would land around the corner on Mayhew Lane, on town-owned property, to bring people in and out of the restaurant. When not in use, the lift would be stored on private property.
Mr. Williams said other alternatives including ramps and vertical lifts did not appear to be viable, and said they were not directly aware of the issue when they began the renovation process.
Building inspector Leonard Jason Jr. strongly disagreed.
“You were told by the building inspector in the very beginning,” he said. “You moved the damn stairway . . . I said you’re going to need a variance. You said the architect said you were all set. How’d you make out? You weren’t all set.”
Mr. Williams said he came into the project at a later date than the owners.
“I don’t think that we should use town property for this purpose,” selectman chair Margaret Serpa said. “If you have a problem with the access board you need to address that.” She said the board would be willing to request an extension until September from the state so the matter can be addressed without impacting town property.
“It’s something they’ve know about since the time they started the renovation,” she added later.
“I know there are strict rules and things you have to abide by,” Michael Donaroma said. “The town is being pretty reasonable to let you go until September to come up with something.”
Joseph Roberts, Americans with Disabilities Act coordinator of Dukes County and an associate commissioner for disability affairs, asked why the lift wasn’t installed and operational already, noting that the business had agreed to have everything done by April 1.
Mr. Williams said the company making the lift had given a higher priority to other projects like schools.
“This to me is kind of a gray area and I want to think on it some more, whether it’s even using town property,” selectman Arthur Smadbeck said. “I want to keep an open mind. But in the meantime, at the very least, we should see if we can get an extension so we can have a restaurant open for July and August.”
The board voted 2-1 to write to the state asking for an extension. Ms. Serpa voted against the idea, she said, because she didn’t want the solution to involve town property.
The selectmen also turned down a request to use Chappaquiddick Point this summer to unload insulation materials for the Schifter house move.
Tyler Finkle with International Chimney Corporation, the company moving the 8,300-square-foot house on Wasque Point, said they hoped to barge materials to Chappaquiddick Point, where they would be unloaded and brought to the worksite.
He said the material would not be available until the end of June, and he would need it by the end of July.
Town administrator Pamela Dolby pointed out that in July, “Chappy Point is loaded with people, children, baby carriages, people driving around looking for parking spaces.” She suggested bring the materials to the main island and having trucks go over on the Chappaquiddick ferry in the early morning hours when there is no traffic.
“I don’t see how it could work,” Mr. Donaroma said, saying he wanted to make it clear they couldn’t use the Chappy Ferry during normal hours in July and August, nor use the parking lot during that time.
Ms. Dolby told Mr. Finkle he could come back with a proposal to bring the barge after Labor Day.