Food truck fans packed the West Tisbury town hall meeting room Thursday night, for the public appeal of town zoning inspector Joe Tierney’s denial of a one-day food truck permit for an event at Grange Hall in May.

Giulia Casalino’s application for food truck service during a Climate Week fair at the Grange on May 14 was initially turned down by Mr. Tierney in a letter dated March 21.

“The West Tisbury zoning bylaws currently define food trucks as fast food restaurants and section 3.2-3 of the [bylaws] indicates fast food restaurants are prohibited,” Mr. Tierney wrote.

However, food trucks are not mentioned or defined anywhere in the existing bylaws.

“It’s a restrictive interpretation,” said Pie Chicks proprietor Chrissy Kinsman, one of about 20 Islanders who turned out in Ms. Casalino’s support.

Board members noted that food trucks have become familiar sights at local gatherings, including the Vineyard Artisans Festivals at the Grange and the West Tisbury Farmers Market at Agricultural Hall.

“I love Joe, but this seems to be a very dramatic change in direction from the past,” zoning board member Andrew Zaikis said.

“I see food trucks all over the place. To suddenly find out they’re illegal strikes me as very odd,” Mr. Zaikis added.

The West Tisbury planning board also supports Ms. Casalino’s request, according to zoning board administrator Pam Thors.

“The [planning] board’s opinion is that this is for a special event and should be allowed,” Ms. Thors said.

“The board will discuss the issues with food trucks with the select board in an upcoming meeting,” likely on May 18, she added.

The zoning board ultimately voted to overturn Mr. Tierney’s ruling on the May 13 event, but chairman Lawrence Schubert cautioned that Thursday’s unanimous action does not preclude further denials and appeals.

“Our decision can’t control what he does in the future,” Mr. Schubert said.

Only by amending the bylaws to include food trucks can the uncertainty be resolved, he said.

The board also voted that until the bylaws are clarified, Ms. Thors will hold — rather than immediately cashing — applicants’ checks for the $200 fee to appeal Mr. Tierney’s denial.

Ms. Casalino’s $200 appeal check, which already was deposited, will be refunded through the town.

Mr. Tierney was not present for Thursday’s hearing. Ms. Thors said he indicated his letter of denial would speak for him.