A draft bylaw designed to address large parties in Edgartown was derided this week by dozens of residents, many of whom thought the regulation didn’t go far enough.

The select board Monday held a hearing on a new proposed bylaw that would limit private residences to two social events per week exceeding 50 people and no more than five events total per month. If enacted, the regulation would be enforceable by the town police, who could issue a $300 fine or seek an injunction in the courts.

The issue of large parties in residential areas of town arose this past summer when a house on Edgartown-West Tisbury Road connected to a national whiskey brand held several events, drawing the ire of neighbors

At Monday’s meeting, many in the surrounding neighborhood said limits needed to be put in place, but the current draft wasn’t strong enough.

“If this is an attempt to control what happened...I think three [events] per year is plenty,” said Paul Elliott, a Whalers Walk resident and one of about 40 people at the public hearing. 

“Five would be more than enough, but five per month is way excessive,” Mr. Elliott said. 

Several residents agreed. 

“I believe it’s too many,” said Katherine Smith. “One party a month of 50 or more people is sufficient....If somebody wants to have multiple parties, they should have an event venue.” 

Some felt the town should require large get-togethers to require special permits.

Much of the hearing concentrated on a home on Edgartown-West Tisbury Road owned by UN House MV LLC, a limited liability company associated with the Tennessee whiskey company Uncle Nearest. This summer, the house hosted several events in August, including brunches, cocktail hours and other parties.

Several residents said the house is operating as a commercial business in a residential district and should be shut down. 

Edgartown building inspector Reade Milne told the crowd that although the owners may appear to be operating the home as a commercial venture, they have largely followed the town’s regulations. Some initial events were ticketed, Ms. Milne said, but after the town advised the owners that ticketing wasn’t allowed, future events involved no exchange of money.

“Just because they own a whiskey company does not mean that they were running their business out of their property,” she said.

The blurred lines of what is permissible at a residential property is what prompted the new potential regulations, according to select board chair Arthur Smadbeck.

“That’s why we need to have something more than just, ‘You can’t have commercial,’” he said. “We have to have a bylaw that addresses exactly what was going on.” 

Officials did point out that people have a right to host guests at their homes after one resident suggested setting up a permitting process for parties.

“This is still America,” said town administrator James Hagerty.

The select board said they would take into consideration the feedback from the hearing as they worked on a final draft of a bylaw that could eventually go to town meeting. 

Mr. Hagerty encouraged people to submit comments to the town by March. If approved by town meeting, the bylaw would then have to be approved by the state attorney general’s office before it could be enacted.