New wrinkles have developed in a contentious series of Edgartown Conservation Commission hearings to determine whether The Trustees of Reservations can continue the sale of oversand vehicle permits on its Cape Pogue and Leland Beach properties.

For months, Chappaquiddick residents have urged the commission to deny the Trustees’ permit application, arguing that the organization’s handling of oversand vehicle access has come to the detriment of the areas’ delicate barrier dunes and protected wetlands. The Cape Pogue area in particular has become a flashpoint with some residents taking legal action against the organization, claiming a pattern of land misuse, noncomplicance and neglect.

“Forty thousand vehicles go over the Dike Bridge on an annual basis, according to the traffic counter,” resident Joe Russo said, referring to the town-owned bridge connecting Cape Pogue to the rest of Chappaquiddick. “I don’t want to sit around while they run this property into the ground and then wash their hands of it.”

In the hearing on Feb. 15, commission members raised concerns regarding the number of vehicles the Trustees’ allow on their trails and whether the organization would be able to secure sufficient staffing for the summer volume. The Trustees do not currently limit the number of oversand vehicles that can go through their properties, Trustees islands portfolio director Darci Schofield said, but follow a guideline of one vehicle per 20 feet by 30 feet square area.

Ms. Schofield told members of the commission that they could provide conditions to implement limits.

The Trustees have not released numbers of how many permitted vehicles pass through its properties each year, but reported 4,500 total permits sold last year.

Due to the unique environmental needs of each property, the commission recommended that the Trustees submit separate notices of intent so oversand access may continue unfettered on Leland Beach while residents debate the effects of vehicle access on Cape Pogue. Ms. Schofield said that the Trustees still consider the properties similar enough to fall under one notice, but it has assembled a working group of various stakeholders to further discuss Cape Pogue management.

“It would be much easier and cleaner if they were separate notices,” conservation agent Jane Varkonda said.

The Trustees of Reservations is the largest land trust in the state and has sold oversand vehicle permits on its Edgartown beach properties since 1990. Over the past several hearings, abutters have reported an erosion of trust in the nonprofit conservancy organization, claiming it has deprioritized its conservational responsibilities.

“It seems that making money by selling OSV permits and T-shirts has taken over their mission,” said Leslie Self, whose family first donated a swath of land to the organization in the 1950s.

The oversand vehicle debate is just the latest challenge the organization has faced in the past year, beginning with widespread public backlash against its proposed beach management plan in July. Ms. Schofield has since said that the Trustees plan to release an updated draft this October.

Earlier this winter, the Trustees relinquished control of Norton Point Beach, which is owned by Dukes County, to allow the town of Edgartown to pursue their application for management. Norton Point Beach had originally been included in the Trustees’ notice of intent.

Chappaquiddick resident Tom Ross said that the last oversand vehicle license issued to the Trustees in 2016 had been contingent on the procurement of a beach management plan, and in the absence of an approved plan, the application left too much up in the air.

“We trust they’re being truthful that the next plan will be released in the fall, but we have no idea when or if it will be approved,” Mr. Ross said. “[The Trust] has continuously shown that the commission’s conditions as well as their own has been meaningless to them.”

Cape Pogue resident Victor Colantonio, who co-filed a lawsuit against the Trustees, echoed Mr. Ross’s point, expressing concern at the lack of land studies and data in the Trustees’ application.

“It’s almost daring people to come out of the woodwork and say, ‘This is preposterous,’” Mr. Colantonio said. “We don’t have enough information to make a decision.”

The sale of permits typically begins in January, with trails opening up to oversand vehicle access in late May. The public hearing will continue on Feb. 22.