Chilmark selectmen approved a warrant for a special town meeting Feb. 2 that aims to clear the way for a major restoration project at Squibnocket Beach. Five of the eight articles on the warrant relate to the project, which has undergone a lengthy public review but still depends on the cooperation of landowners and homeowners in the area.

Voters will be asked whether to approve a plan developed by a town committee last year, and whether to instruct the selectmen to negotiate and execute the details.

Two articles are intended to provide the town with financial options as it continues negotiating land acquisitions and other aspects of the plan. The selectmen are requesting up to $410,000 to execute a 99-year lease that would expand the town beach holdings, and up to $350,000 to acquire one or two parcels for a new parking lot and a portion of a new access road to Squibnocket Farm.

The new access road would replace the current road, which runs along the eroding beach. The plan also includes removing a stone revetment and allowing the shoreline to adjust. The new parking lot and road would both be farther inland.

In an earlier plan that was rejected at the annual town meeting last year, the Squibnocket Farm Homeowners Association had agreed to purchase more than 1,000 feet of beach from the Vineyard Open Land Foundation and lease it to the town. Over the course of the public review last year, the association indicated that they were still willing to provide the lease, as long as they found the new plan to be acceptable.

“We are working on a promise, more or less,” said Bill Rossi, chair of the selectmen, referring to a statement made at a committee meeting last summer. He added that the selectmen were exploring all of its options in regard to acquiring the beach area. “This is a timing issue more than anything else — in order to get on with the warrant,” he said. The money for the lease would come from the town’s community preservation act funds.

CPA funds would also cover the purchase of the land needed for the new road and parking lot. The two parcels in question are each assessed at $149,000. Selectman Warren Doty said the landowners have expressed in writing that their preference was to lease rather than sell the land. “And the indication was [to] lease it for a very low sum – much less than the assessed value,” he said.

The selectmen were still awaiting a formal list of concerns from the landowners.

Another article asks for $11,670 to cover the town’s required 25 per cent contribution to a Coastal Zone Management grant that was awarded last year.

The remaining three articles ask for: $20,000 in CPA funds to be transferred to the Molly Flender Affordable Housing Trust Fund; $3,300 to pay for bills from prior fiscal years; and $3,563 to fund changes in salaries for four town employees.

With several projects in the works, the selectmen also began looking ahead to the annual town meeting in April. A request for $40,000 in town funds for planning and architectural costs related to a new public safety building in the center of town was proposed for the February warrant, but delayed until the spring to avoid complicating the Squibnocket issue.

The April warrant will also include an article asking for approval of a new bylaw that would allow for Chilmark homeowners to provide accessory housing under certain conditions. Among other requirements, occupants would need to be family members of the property owner, or otherwise meet an affordable-housing income threshold. Occupants would be subject to annual review. The selectmen voted unanimously Wednesday to approve the article.

The Vineyard Conservation Society is pursuing an Island-wide ban on single-use plastic bags, possibly to be modeled after a bylaw in Falmouth. VCS board member Joan Malkin gave the selectmen early notice of a warrant article that could possibly be submitted for the April town meeting. She said the general proposition was to have Island-wide ordinances to ban single-use plastic bags, but the details were still unclear.

“If we are able to do the groundwork in time to meet the various towns’ deadlines for warrants, we will do so,” she said. “If not, we will attack this at a later date.” She said between 300 and 500 towns across the country have instituted such a ban.