The Martha’s Vineyard Commission was hit with another lawsuit this week, this time from the owners of a historic West Chop house who had sought unsuccessfully for permission to demolish and rebuild it.

In a complaint filed Tuesday, Oct. 4, in Dukes County Superior Court, Brian T. and Susannah B. Bristol claim that the denial of their demolition request “is unsupported by evidence, exceeds the authority of the commission, and is otherwise unreasonable, capricious and arbitrary.”

They are asking the court to annul the MVC’s decision and allow the demolition to go forward.

It is the fourth lawsuit filed in the last two years against the MVC, but the first involving a historic house demolition, a growing area of concern for the commission. In May, the commission adopted a strict new policy that strongly favors preservation, considering demolitions of houses more than 100 years old “only as an extreme last resort.”

The focus of the latest case, among the last to be considered under the commission’s former policy, is a 9,187-square-foot single-family home on 1133 Main street in Vineyard Haven believed to date to the 1890s. Because of the house’s age, the Bristols’ proposal to tear it down was referred by the Tisbury building inspector to the MVC as a development of regional impact (DRI).

In court documents, the Bristols said the house has been in Mrs. Bristol’s family for 100 years and they have owned it themselves since 1999 as their primary and exclusive residence. They proposed to replace the existing home with one of similar design and shingle-style architecture with a slightly smaller floor area and square footage and a lower roof height. They also committed to converting to all-electric power, with the exception of a propane cooktop.

While acknowledging that renovating the house instead of demolishing it would be technically feasible, the Bristols said doing so would be 50 percent more costly and would involve lifting it off its foundation, creating safety issues.

A public hearing was held in July, and on Aug. 25 the commission voted 7-3, with one abstention, to deny the application without prejudice, meaning the applicants could reapply without waiting the usual two years. Voting to deny the demolition were commissioners Jeff Agnoli, Christina Brown, Jay Grossman, Fred Hancock, Greg Martino, Ben Robinson and Linda Sibley. Voting against denial were Brian Smith, Ernie Thomas and Jim Vercruysse. Michael Kim abstained.

In its written decision approved Sept. 15, the MVC found that the probable detriments of the proposed project exceeded the probable benefits, concluding that the project was “not essential or appropriate in view of available alternatives.”

“According to the Historical Commission, although the challenges of rehabilitating a dwelling of this age are considerable, many houses on the Vineyard of this vintage and significantly older have been successfully updated and preserved,” the decision said in part.

The MVC also cited as detriments the loss to West Chop of a historic house and the effect on the environment because of the large amount of waste generated from the demolition and the amount of new materials required.

In their complaint, the Bristols say the house has undergone significant and substantial renovations and alterations over the years. There is no heat on the second or third floors, as well as serious issues with the foundation.

“In order to rehabilitate the House and address its foundation problems, the house would need to be lifted off its foundation and the interior gutted, destroying the historical integrity of the interior,” the complaint said.

The Bristols noted that the commission received 29 letters in support of the project from neighbors, including all immediate abutters.

The Bristols are represented by Boston attorney Kevin O’Flaherty.