No further subdivision will be allowed in the Sweetened Water subdivision in Edgartown for now, the town planning board ruled last week.

At issue before the board was a Form A application from Sweetened Water resident Dwight Arundale to divide his 2.6-acre lot into two parcels. Technically called approval not required, the Form A process allows simple subdivisions on land with adequate road frontage.

But what may have appeared on the surface as an innocuous division of land — Mr. Arundale said the division is for estate-planning purposes — has been a drawn-out point of contention with Sweetened Water residents throughout the winter. Public discussion on the Arundale application was continued seven times.

One of the older planned communities on the Vineyard, Sweetened Water was developed by the Vineyard Open Land Foundation in the early 1970s.

Covenants created in 1973 for the neighborhood limit the subdivision to 15 lots with 15 houses. Mr. Arundale claimed he was unaware of the covenants and did not enter into them when he purchased his home.

“At no time since our purchase did we sign or enter into any covenants,” Mr. Arundale wrote in a March 28 letter to the board. “Therefore, we never had the need to rescind any such covenants. We are in the process of selling our house downtown [Edgartown] and are planning to make our summer home on our property at Louis Field Road. We are dividing the property for estate purposes.”

Mr. Arundale filed the application in November but later revised it. In the revised plan, he promised not to further subdivide his property.

At the meeting last week Howard Miller, Mr. Arundale’s attorney, pointed to an opinion from special town counsel Eric Wodlinger recommending that the board endorse the application.

“It would be extremely unusual if you didn’t follow the opinion of town counsel and the other thing is this is not an ambivalent opinion, it is very definite,” Mr. Miller said. “This is someone acting in capacity of your town counsel with no interest in property and only giving you his best advice. I really ask you to accept it and approve the form A as presented to you.”

Sweetened Water residents and their attorney had another view.

“If the planning board were to approve the revised . . . subdivision, it will create a new precedent diametrically opposed to its original decision nearly 40 years ago, and will invite each and every lot owner within Sweetened Water Farm to seek further subdivision for their lots,” wrote attorney Mark DiOrio, who is also a resident of the farm, in a letter to the board last week. “Looking into the future, the results could be disastrous.”

Farm resident Pamela Dolby echoed the concern.

“There are people out there with large lots that will be on the heels of this. That’s what’s going to happen to Sweetened Water Farm,” Mrs. Dolby said. “Somebody has to step out and help us to protect this neighborhood.”

Planning board chairman Alan Wilson sided with Mrs. Dolby and said it was the planning board’s role to uphold the covenants.

“I feel that it’s time for this planning board to take a stand if we really wanted to,” he said, adding that he was willing to risk a court appeal. “I think if this board endorses this, what you’re endorsing is bad planning,” Mr. Wilson said. “I guess we can go to court over this but it’s something we can really fight for to maintain.”

In the end the vote was 4 to 1 not to endorse the subdivision; Fred Mascolo cast the dissenting vote.