A new proposal for the controversial home renovation at 81 South Water street emerged at the Edgartown historic district commission public hearing Thursday after the commission had previously requested the architect consolidate three potential plans into one application.

Many on the commission and in the public commended the architect, Patrick Ahearn, for the new plan, which he described as “more sympathetic” to the existing structure. The new plan widens the existing view corridor of the Edgartown harbor and tones down the overall massing and coverage that had become sticking points in previous hearings. Still, some took issue with certain architectural details and any complications that might arise from a potential lift of the house.

Mr. Ahearn presented the new proposal on behalf of his client, real estate investor David Malm. Mr. Malm and his company, Goldeneye, LLC, own nine other high-end properties in Edgartown.

Chair Julia Tarka and other members of the commission expressed interest in seeing an updated plan with a more visible turret, fewer windows on the harbor-facing façade, and a more detailed rendering of the pool. Another hearing has been scheduled for July 20 to address those concerns.

“I think you could get a majority vote on the 20th if you submit a plan with those changes,” Ms. Tarka told Mr. Ahearn.
John Brittain, who lives directly across the property at 82 South Water street and has previously advocated for preserving the public harbor view, took issue with what he saw as an incomplete application.

“I don’t see any detailed renderings or drawings from the public view on the harbor side, no detailed or complete site plan,” he said. “I’m certainly willing to consider supporting the project but I think there’s a lot of material missing.”

Wampanoag Tribe of Aquinnah historic preservation officer Bettina Washington also joined the hearing to alert Mr. Ahearn that the tribal office would be reviewing the project with a focus on potential ground disturbances, as the area around South Water street is ecologically sensitive. Mr. Ahearn readily accepted.

Although some questions remain, overall, residents and commissioners seemed much happier with the new plan.

“This looks like a huge improvement to me,” resident Julia Livingston said. “It seems to me you’ve done an excellent job here. I wasn’t imagining I was going to be in favor of it, but I am.”