William S. O’Connell may have clear-cut a 100 by 106-foot area on his land in Chappaquiddick, put up a wind sock and a sign saying “Heliport,” but that did not make it a heliport, a Dukes County Superior Court judge was told on Friday.

Nor did occasional takeoffs and landings make it one, argued Thomas C. Grassia, appearing for Mr. O’Connell, who is battling the town of Edgartown over its refusal to allow him to fly to and from his Chappy home.

The fact that Mr. O’Connell was “thinking about” building a helipad and landing there was not really relevant.

The town could not “enjoin a thought or idea,” Mr. Grassia said.

The novel argument came out in a summary judgment hearing before the Hon. Cornelius J. Moriarty 2nd in the matter of the Edgartown building inspector versus O’Connell, a case which had it beginnings nearly two years ago when Mr. O’Connell first built his so-called heliport.

In late 2006 Mr. O’Connell bought a one-acre lot adjoining his home on Sandy Road, Chappaquiddick, that lot being one of eight that he and other plaintiffs had previously argued contained environmentally sensitive habitat and should not be used for affordable home sites.

He then clear-cut a portion of it, to land his helicopter.

On July 27, 2007, Edgartown building inspector Leonard Jason Jr. issued a cease and desist order, noting that the use of residential property as a heliport was prohibited by Edgartown zoning bylaws, a fact which had been upheld in prior litigation.

According to the agreed facts, cited by Edgartown town counsel Ronald H. Rappaport, Mr. O’Connell’s lawyers wrote back to the town, saying there would be no heliport but still asserting Mr. O’Connell’s right to occasional takeoffs and landings.

On August 27 the town responded that there were to be no landings at all.

Six days later, Mr Rappaport said, Mr. O’Connell landed his helicopter there.

Land use in the area, Mr. Rappaport said, is governed by what is called prohibitive zoning, which means that any use not expressly permitted is prohibited, unless it is an accessory use, customarily incidental to the use of the property.

No provision was made for the private landing of aircraft.

Mr. Rappaport cited two previous cases which uphold that position.

The first was a 1971 case related to a plane, not a helicopter, which a property owner wanted to use on his 35-acre property in the town of Harvard.

The zoning was identical to that which applied to Mr. O’Connell’s land, but the property owner argued customary use — that flying in and out was something commonly done in that community.

The court found against him.

In the second case, on Chappaquiddick in 1989 a property owner wanted to commute by helicopter, and argued that his right to do so was grandfathered because helicopters had landed there before.

He also lost.

In any case, Mr. Rappaport said, if Mr. O’Connell had wanted to challenge the cease and desist order, he should have appealed the order to the zoning board of appeals or gone to the land court.

“But instead he elected to ignore the cease and desist and land his helicopter,” he said.

Mr. Grassia said the matter came down to “how I come and go from my house.”

Mr. O’Connell’s use of a helicopter to get to his place was more like other people’s use of a car, Mr. Grassia suggested, noting that the prescriptive zoning made no mention of them, yet they were not deemed to be prohibited.

Mr. Grassia even mused on whether one might arrive at one’s property by parachute, which also was not addressed by the zoning.

He suggested town authorities sought to “pick and choose” about how people elected to come and go from their properties.

Furthermore, he said Mr. O’Connell had not been the pilot on the day in question, and said the Federal Aviation Administration did not recognize the establishment of a heliport unless a particular landing site was used at least 12 or 13 times a year.

Mr. Rappaport responded that it was “ridiculous” to suggest a helicopter was analogous to a car. The use of a car was plainly customary and incidental.

He also noted — and Mr. Grassia acknowledged — that neither the claim that Mr. O’Connell had not been the pilot on the day, nor the claim about the FAA were in the agreed-upon facts before the court.

Judge Moriarty also took issue with Mr. Grassia’s arguments.

“Under your theory,” he said, “anyone could land anywhere in Edgartown.

“Katama Bay would be littered with fuselages.”

A ruling in the case is expected.