Stillpoint, a proposed nonprofit education center in West Tisbury, went before the town’s zoning board of appeals this week, one of the last regulatory hurdles left for the project.

Founder Thomas Bena and assistant director Jake Davis Thursday asked the zoning board for a special permit to run events at the property. The nonprofit envisions using the existing barn on the 14 acres of land off Stillpoint Meadows Road for classes, group discussions and other events.

The zoning board meeting comes after the Martha’s Vineyard Commission approved a plan for the group to host up to 38,000 visitors each year, with strict limits on lighting and noise and a prohibition on weddings.

The zoning board didn’t make a decision Thursday and plans to revisit the project later this summer.

Board members grappled with the fact that there have been few proposals like Stillpoint in the past. The board asked questions about noise mitigation, parking and Stillpoint’s plan to rent the property for “off-mission” revenue-generating events. In its decision, the Martha’s Vineyard Commission allowed up to 20 per cent of the organization’s events to be off-mission.

“They’re all going to be quiet events,” said Mr. Davis in his presentation to the board, describing Stillpoint as a “community space for classes, conversation and contemplation.”

Mr. Davis also tried assuaging community concerns about the number of activities affecting the rural character of the property. Stillpoint can host up to five events a day that draw up to 35 attendees, and up to three a week with 36 to 100 attendees, under the MVC conditions. The commission defined an event as a gathering of 10 people or more, including staff.

“I know it sounds like a lot [of events], but it’s really not a lot in a day,” he said.

The application drew significant public input, with more than 90 pages of correspondence included in the public record. Other West Tisbury officials have also weighed in on the proposal, with the town planning board sending a scathing letter to the zoning board in opposition to the project.

In the letter, the planning board wrote it was “disappointed and surprised” by the MVC’s decision to approve a project with "significant commercial use,” worrying that it could set a precedent.

The planning board recommended the permit application be denied, saying it would leave the land “irrevocably changed and despoiled,” and cause “damage to the neighborhood, to the community and West Tisbury.”

Despite the planning board’s letter, some did speak up in favor at Thursday’s meeting, including the planning board’s own member Amy Upton, who was speaking in her capacity as a resident.

“I think it’s worth giving these two guys a try,” Ms. Upton said.

Zoning board chair Laurence Schubert emphasized the thin line that his board must walk with the hearing, attempting to give Stillpoint flexibility for community-driven programming while also effectively outline limitations in their special permit.

“You guys want loose, but sometimes we get in trouble with loose,” he said. “I think we have a ways to go…hopefully we can find a sweet spot.”

The hearing was continued to Thursday, July 6, following a site visit at the property.