A plan to expand and convert a large residence on Edgartown’s Upper Main street into a 19-room inn received unanimous approval from the Martha’s Vineyard Commission Thursday night, growing the footprint of the Edgar Inn across the street.
In a lengthy meeting, the commission also approved an expansion to Vineyard Golf Club’s maintenance facility and a project to convert the upstairs of a barn at North Tabor Farm into a two-room apartment.
The inn conversion and expansion at 222 Upper Main street, in the B-2 business district, sped through a public hearing earlier this spring and will allow owners to add six rooms and about 2,500 square foot to the 13-bedroom, 4,000-square foot building on the site. Parking will also increase from seven to 21 spots.
The building is owned by an LLC connected to Boldwater Holdings, a realty and property management firm based in Newton. The owners of Boldwater also own the former Clarion Inn, now known as the Edgar Inn, as well as three other neighboring properties along the southern side of Upper Main street.
The new inn will serve as an annex to the Edgar.
The commission received no testimony or written comment from abutters during the public hearing process.
At the meeting Thursday, commissioners largely touted the proposal, saying that the building, once operated as the Arbor Inn in the 1980s and 1990s, would return to its roots as a lodging service. They described the development as appropriate considering its location in a business district.
“A benefit is that they are reusing and reviving that property . . . in an appropriate area,” commissioner Ben Robinson said.
Until recent years, the building had been vacant before new ownership used it as workforce and elder housing during the past couple winters, according to commission staff reports. The applicants have offered to offset the change in use by providing year-round workforce housing for two employees at 29 Chase Road.
According to commission housing and workforce development planner Christine Flynn, the offer aligns with the commission’s housing policy by providing apartments rather than monetary mitigation.
On Thursday, commissioners were lukewarm about the two units, agreeing that the offer adhered to commission policy but noting that the rooms merely offset workforce housing that was lost in the change of use. Mr. Robinson suggested a further examination of commission policy in the future.
“I know they aren’t going above and beyond on housing, but it is still a slight benefit,” commission chairman Joan Malkin concluded.
And despite concerns about wastewater, stormwater and traffic — the new bedrooms will be hooked up to town sewer, add about 5,000 square feet of impervious surfaces to the site, and require guests to cross Main street to get to the hotel — commissioners felt the benefits of revitalizing the building out-weighed the detriments.
“It’s obviously an economic benefit,” commissioner Ted Rosbeck said. “Adding more rooms is an economic benefit to the town.”
“You’re also restoring a previously utilized inn,” commission executive director Adam Turner added.
Commissioners unanimously approved the development, with conditions that include sending the landscape and lighting plans back to the Edgartown planning board for approval.
In other business, an expansion to the Vineyard Golf Club’s maintenance facility that includes a 5,350-square-foot addition to its current building, as well as a new 6,700-square-foot building on the property for storage and maintenance, was approved. The buildings also include nine new employee bedrooms.
“Principal benefit is that it improves the function of an important facility to the Island, and I don’t see that it has principal detriments,” commissioner Linda Sibley said.
Commissioners unanimously approved the request.
A project to add a two-bedroom apartment unit to the top floor of a barn at North Tabor Farm was also approved with little discussion.