Tisbury officials have halted construction at a large property overlooking Lake Tashmoo after discovering that work on a revetment did not comply with proper permitting procedure.

According to Tisbury conservation agent Jane Varkonda, the property located at 138 Pasture Gate Road on the west side of the lake had received a permit to build a slope revetment for shoreline stabilization, but the owners began work before holding a required pre-construction meeting with town officials.

After a site visit, Ms. Varkonkda halted the work on Thursday, issuing homeowners Thomas Friedman and Amy Anderson a cease and desist order.

“They started excavating the coastal bank to meet the slope requirements, I guess,” Ms. Varkonda said, speaking to the Gazette by phone. “They didn’t quite follow proper procedure . . . We were supposed to have a preconstruction meeting so everybody is on the same page.”

In a letter to the homeowners provided to the Gazette, Ms. Varkonda said she received a complaint about heavy construction work on the property. The property had received a permit to build a fiber roll and gabion array, essentially a soft revetment, using coir logs, but instead used heavy equipment to clear the shoreline.

“Their construction equipment was all down on the beach,” Ms. Varkonda said.

The property is located across from the public Lake street landing in Tisbury. The project designer is George Sourati, a civil engineer based on the Vineyard and Nantucket. The contractor is DECA Construction.

In a phone interview with the Gazette later Monday, Mr. Sourati described the project as a state-of-the-art revetment, saying that it had gone through an extensive public review process with the town and had received all necessary permits. But he said the project contractor began work removing trees on the bank without holding the pre-construction site visit.

"The project was fully permitted and went through a rigorous permitting process," Mr. Sourati said. "Unfortunately, the methods of how to start the project were supposed to be discussed prior to construction, and that did not happen."

Ms. Varkonda expressed concern in the cease and desist letter that the work could have ecological impacts on the Tashmoo bluff, possibly leading to erosion of materials into the lake.

“I am concerned that the work as performed to date has resulted in the addition of fill onto the beach and intertidal area which will likely erode into the waters of Lake Tashmoo, and that staging equipment and materials on the beach may not be able to occur without adverse impacts on the coastal beach and intertidal area,” Ms. Varkonda wrote. “I am hereby requesting that a siltation barrier be installed on site to help prevent sedimentation from entering the water.”

Mr. Sourati said on Monday that the siltation barrier had been installed. 

A 270-acre coastal pond on the Island’s north shore, Lake Tashmoo has experienced declining water quality in recent years due in part to development throughout its large watershed.

Ms. Varkonda said the conservation commission will inspect the site on Tuesday to ensure compliance. The issue is tentatively scheduled to be discussed at the next conservation commission meeting.

“It’s not the worst thing I’ve seen,” Ms. Varkonda said. “But they will have to propose a construction protocol that will have no adverse impacts on the bank.”