Oak Bluffs selectmen voted unanimously Tuesday not to include a measure that would ban single-use plastic bags on the town meeting warrant.

The action reverses a vote at the selectmen’s Dec. 15 meeting, when the board voted to include the article on the town meeting warrant and let voters decide the issue. At their Tuesday meeting, the board heard from town business owners who opposed the measure as too costly and inconvenient.

At the meeting several selectmen said they want more time to work with local businesses on a compromise. The plastic bag ban will go before voters at annual town meetings this spring in all Island towns except Oak Bluffs.

The measure, promoted by the Vineyard Conservation Society, would ban single-use plastic bags commonly used at local stores to pack groceries and other purchases at the register. Supporters of the ban contend it would lead to a cleaner environment both on land and in the oceans. They also say it would encourage consumers to bring reusable cloth or more durable plastic bags to the store, and reduce the cost of recycling.

While many at the meeting Tuesday questioned the benefit to the environment, most business owners focused on the cost of switching to different bags.

“Last year we purchased 548 cases of plastic bags at a cost of $14,300,” said Bob Pacheco of Reliable Market. “If they were paper, it would equate to 1,370 bales at $61 a bale, or $83,500. That’s a $69,000 difference. We like to keep our prices moderate. We’re in a very competitive business. We don’t just raise prices arbitrarily. That’s a lot of money.”

Former selectman Todd Rebello, who owns four downtown businesses, said banning plastic bags in Oak Bluffs will affect businesses in Oak Bluffs differently than other Island towns, and differently than other communities that have passed such ordinances. He said summer tourists won’t bring reusable bags with them on day trips to Martha’s Vineyard.

“These were aimed at big box stores, not Mom and Pop businesses,” Mr. Rebello said. “I’m willing to go to a higher cost, but I’m not willing to break my business. I’m willing to do more, but don’t put it all on a small group of people struggling to stay in business.”

Samantha Look, who spearheaded the Vineyard Conservation Society initiative, said the warrant article would make the plastic bag ban effective in the spring of 2017.

“Everyone could get through the summer season and use up stock, and prepare.” Ms. Look said.

Several business owners advocated better efforts at recycling. Ms. Look said single-use plastic bags are recyclable only under very specific circumstances, and there is a very limited market for the recycled plastic.

“It doesn’t matter how good we are at recycling the bags, you have to have someone who will take them,” Ms. Look said.

Members of the board said they did not oppose a ban, but they did favor putting off a town meeting vote to give merchants time to explore alternative solutions or develop a way to implement a plastic bag ban.

“If we have to give it a little more time to get it right, it makes sense,” said selectman Gregory Coogan. “But I don’t think anybody should walk away thinking that we’re not going to do something about this. We all recognize that plastic is not a good thing for what we sell here year round, which is the most beautiful place on the planet. We can’t afford to screw that up.”

Selectmen committed to bring the issue to voters at next year’s town meeting, if not before.

Before the vote, Ms. Look told selectmen that the board’s earlier decision to include the warrant article, followed by Tuesday’s reversal of that vote after the deadline for submitting articles, deprived supporters of organizing a citizen’s petition to put the measure before town meeting.

“We’ve lost an opportunity to do this any other way,” Ms. Look said.