The chairman of a town committee evaluating plans for restoring Squibnocket Beach said this week there is no formal deadline for completing the work, even if it means giving up a large state grant that was awarded for the project.

“It would be good to get the money, but we are not driven by that money,” said Jim Malkin at a meeting of the Squibnocket Beach subcommittee Tuesday morning. Mr. Malkin said he expects the final proposal for Squibnocket will be compelling enough to seek a CZM grant next year.

Chilmark received a $280,000 Coastal Zone Management grant in May to help restore the beach. Created by Gov. Deval Patrick, the $1.3 million grant program is the first of its kind in the commonwealth and will send money to nine coastal communities to reduce risks associated with coastal storms, erosion and sea level rise through natural approaches known as green infrastructure. Chilmark received the largest award. There is a June 2015 deadline for spending the money.

New proposal allows for 6,500 cubic square yards of material to be trucked in to build a dune ridge. — Albert O. Fischer

The committee headed by Mr. Malkin is charged with evaluating alternatives after a complex coastal restoration plan developed by the selectmen last year was narrowly defeated at the annual town meeting in April. The committee has been meeting weekly all summer and is nearing the end of its fact-finding mission. A recommendation to the selectmen and the town is expected at some point, although Mr. Malkin has not set a timetable. Any new plan would need town meeting approval.

Meanwhile, the latest proposal for restoring Squibnocket Beach was presented to the town committee on Tuesday by the Friends of Squibnocket, a group that includes homeowners in the beach area. That plan calls for the creation of a dune ridge that would protect a new access road to the homes at Squibnocket Farm. The dune would migrate inland as the beach continues to retreat.

The Friends of Squibnocket has been working with consultants and engineers this summer to develop the proposal. It is the first detailed plan for the area since voters rejected the plan drafted by the town and the Squibnocket Farm Homeowners Association. That plan involved building a raised roadway, relocating the parking lot and expanding the town beach.

Under the alternate proposal, 6,500 cubic square yards of material would be trucked in, either from on or off-Island, to build a dune ridge. The dune would gradually migrate inland as a result of storms and rising seas, and through periodic management. Over time, the new access road would need to move along with it. Charles Parker, who presented the plan on Tuesday, along with John Ramsey of Applied Coastal Research and Engineering, pointed out that sediment already has been shifting northward, filling in Squibnocket Pond.

He said removing the 450-foot stone revetment that runs along the current parking lot and access road would quickly add 50 to 60 feet of beachfront as the area naturalizes.

“The area will change dramatically,” he said. “This is what a dune ridge is really all about; from the environmental point of view, it’s all about adaptability.”

Powerful surf and storm damage have eroded beach at Squibnocket. — Albert O. Fischer

Based on the rate of erosion between 1955 and 2011, Mr. Ramsey said the stretch of beach near the road will retreat about 2.3 feet per year. He said that rate was relatively low for the south shore, but is still “a significant rate.”

A dune ridge about 17 feet high and 30 feet wide would prevent overwash from a 50-year storm, he said. The dune would span the 400 or so feet between Squibnocket Road and Money Hill.

The proposal points out, among other things, that the roadway in the original plan would conflict with the dune ridge solution. According to the proposal, in 20 to 25 years the dune will have engulfed the western end of the proposed bridge. Introducing hard structures “into a dynamically changing environment like this one . . . should be avoided,” the proposal states.

After surveying three possible locations for a new parking lot, the Friends of Squibnocket found all three to be feasible. But the group is reluctant to conduct further studies without real interest in moving forward on the plan, Mr. Parker said.

The total cost of the project is estimated at around $190,000, with maintenance costs averaging about $7,000 per year. The new access road would be paid for by the homeowners association.

Mr. Ramsey said the project could be completed in less than six weeks.

The committee’s next session is scheduled for Sept. 23, when members of the town beach committee have been asked to come in.

The Squibnocket discussion has been marked along the way by conflicting views among resident groups. Mr. Malkin said this week that he plans to ask representatives from the Friends of Squibnocket and the homeowners association to meet privately with each other to discuss their proposals. He said he has asked Clarissa Allen and Leonard Jason Jr. of Chilmark to facilitate the discussions. The goal would be to encourage a “mutually beneficial” agreement, he said.

He said the discussions would not be open to the public since he did not consider them to be town functions, and because Ms. Allen and Mr. Jason would be acting as volunteers. “I didn’t ask them in their capacity as anything other than experienced citizens of this town,” he said. Both Ms. Allen and Mr. Jason are longtime town leaders who have served in various roles. Ms. Allen is currently on the town site review committee while Mr. Jason is town building inspector and serves on the board of assessors.

In response to a question from the audience, Mr. Malkin said the discussions would not include members of the homeowners association who oppose the original plan.

Committee member Janet Widener said there would be continued opportunity for public participation in the future. “If this joint group were to come back with a proposal, it doesn’t mean we would take it hook, line and sinker,” she said. “It’s just one more that we would look at and rank.”

As for the state grant deadline, Chris Murphy suggested asking if the grant could be extended. “If the state wants this process to go forward, my guess is they will find a way to move the grant forward,” he said. “You shouldn’t be working under a gun.”