The Vineyard Preservation Trust and West Tisbury zoning board of appeals took steps this week towards resolving an ongoing dispute over the events at the trust’s Grange Hall.

Town officials had previously raised concerns over the frequency of events held at the hall, saying the addition of regular events from Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival last summer was an expansion of the trust’s use of the property. The town determined that, under this expanded use, the trust needed a special permit from the zoning board of appeals to hold events.

The trust disagreed and filed a lawsuit against the board in October.

Though that lawsuit is still active, the trust extended an olive branch on Thursday by applying for a special permit.

“We are not admitting that we need a special permit,” said trust attorney Rob McCarron, but if the trust were to be granted one he could “see that suit going away.”

The Vineyard Preservation Trust purchased the Grange Hall, the old headquarters of the Agricultural Society, from the town in 1997. In the deed, they were granted the abililty to conduct certain events. The trust contends their current event lineup is allowed by that deed.

Trust executive director Nevette Previd told the board she hoped to “establish a common ground” and emphasized a need for clarity from the ZBA on how to get approval for the permit.

Zoning board member Andrew Zaikis likened the process to the board’s frequent review of development plans. People apply for permits and the board considers testimony and concerns from abutters.

“This is kind of like that process,” he said, adding that he hoped community members at the meeting would weigh in on potential increased usage at the hall.

Testimony Thursday was largely positive.

“We’ve never had any issues as long as the Vineyard Preservation Trust has owned the building,” said Grange abutter Susan Wasserman. “They’ve been great neighbors and we need these events for the benefit of our town.”

Several other residents who live near the hall spoke in favor of the trust, though a few raised concerns about increased light and noise. Board member Jeffrey Kaye also had concerns about an increase in commercial events.

Zoning board chair Lawrence Schubert encouraged the trust to return to the board with a comprehensive policy concerning which events would be held, addressing the concerns raised that evening.

“I think we’re headed in a real good direction…I actually think the policy could be very inclusive without being restrictive, because I understand your biggest concern is being restricted,” Mr. Schubert said.

Board member Julius Lowe agreed.

“The board wants to give you, and the community more generally, what you want the space to be,” he said. “We’re going to be very willing to work with you.”

The board voted to continue the hearing to Thursday, Feb 23.