Edgartown residents voted by an overwhelming margin at their annual town meeting Tuesday to spend $3 million to buy or take the run-down Yellow House, capping months of discussion and years of concern and legal disputes over the Main street property.

The purchase was also easily approved at the town election Thursday.

Hall family spokesman Benjamin Hall Jr. — Maria Thibodeau

With 248 voters gathering at the Old Whaling Church on a mild spring day, the Yellow House purchase was one of several approved spending requests on a lengthy agenda. Voters also reversed course and approved a $2.5 million expansion proposal for the Martha’s’ Vineyard Refuse District, and said yes to a new dredge, fire truck and bike lanes on Meshacket Road.

As twilight filtered through the church windows, moderator Philip J. (Jeff) Norton Jr. declared a quorum and called the meeting to order just after 7 p.m. Boy Scouts Andy Carr, Tobias Russell Schaeffer and Michael Noel presented the colors and poet laureate Steve Ewing read a poem about the Fourth of July parade. Edgartown library director Lisa Sherman led a round of applause for town children’s librarian Debbie MacInnis on her 40th anniversary. And then it was down to business.

The Yellow House was the hot issue of the night, and voters hashed out the proposal during an hour-long discussion. Selectman Michael Donaroma reiterated the town’s position, laid out at two community forums in recent weeks, that it is time to do something with the dilapidated, vacant property at the heart of Main street and put an end to years of litigation that has cost the town more than $120,000 in legal fees since 2005.

The proposal calls for the town to purchase or take the property by eminent domain, though it was clear at the meeting that the owners of the property, the Hall family, will not be willing to sell. Mr. Donaroma said the town could take the building by eminent domain immediately if voters say yes at the ballot box Thursday. If that happens, the owners’ only recourse is to contest the purchase price, he explained.

Voters line up for Australian ballot vote. — Maria Thibodeau

Town residents largely voiced support for the proposal.

Benjamin L. Hall Jr., representing the family, reiterated his arguments against the purchase, stating that the money should be spent elsewhere. He said the town has acted to stop construction projects, creating a “toxic light” that made it hard to get people interested in the property.

He also argued that it could cost more than $3 million “to take the property from this unwilling seller.” He proposed a deal to lease the property to the town for $30,000 a year, adjusted for inflation and plus a share of taxes, for 25 years.

After a moment of discussion, Mr. Norton said the amendment was outside the scope of the original article and it was shelved.

Chappaquiddick resident Roger Becker spoke in support of Mr. Hall. “Really very serious stuff, the town taking somebody’s property for no other reason than not being maintained,” he said.

Patrick Ahearn, a well-known town architect, said he had worked with the town and the Halls twice over the last 10 years to create plans for the property, to no avail.

Poet laureate Steve Ewing shares a moving ode. — Maria Thibodeau

“I appreciate Ben’s speech that he gave and what appears to be a sincere effort to try to find a resolution to the blight that we all experience, but to be perfectly candid I’m not buying it,” Mr. Ahearn said. “I’ve put my heart, my soul, my money on the table . . . Ben and his group and his family have put no money on the table.”

He continued: “I think what the town is trying to do is really not only improve a negative situation that exists today, but improve the future for our community as a whole . . . there’s basically a major hole in the middle of our downtown.”

Business paused for about 45 minutes as voters filed to the front of the church to vote on yellow slips of paper in a so-called Australian ballot. Meanwhile, fire department personnel and EMTs attended to a man with a medical emergency who was later loaded into an ambulance.

Mr. Norton later announced that the Yellow House purchase had passed 217-34. Voters applauded, and promptly approved a proposal for selectmen to lease the house to a business, the next step in the town’s plans.

The favorable mood extended to a wide-range of spending items. A $34.6 million town budget was easily approved, as was $225,000 to install a bike lane on part of Meshacket Road, $600,000 for a new town dredge, a host of repairs at the waterfront, and $575,000 for a class A pumper for the fire department. The pumper’s cost was amended on the floor from $750,000.

Andy Carr, 10, presents the colors. — Maria Thibodeau

The Martha’s Vineyard Refuse District is back before four member towns this year seeking $2.5 million for an expansion of the transfer station on the Edgartown-West Tisbury Road. The proposal was approved two years ago but came back last year because of a procedural issue. And that time Edgartown voters said no, citing concerns about the expansion and a lack of information.

Refuse district manager Don Hatch said the expansion is essential for safety reasons, and the facility is not in compliance with state guidelines. “We’re asking for your help to make it a safer and more efficient facility,” he said.

Neighbors reiterated concerns. Paul Hannigan, who lives near the facility, wondered why the proposal was the same after the town turned it down last year and after questions posed during a hearing at the Martha’s Vineyard Commission. “One would have thought . . . that the district would have come to the neighbors and said we understand your concerns, we hear your concerns, we want to work with you so when we go back to town meeting next year we want to have your support,” he said. “We have not heard word one from the district over that time.”

Mr. Hatch said details of the plan can be discussed at further meetings. The article passed in a standing vote, 114-38.

Earlier in the meeting usually speedy Edgartown stumbled on the first article on a special town meeting warrant: $30,000 to pay the cost of utilities for three affordable housing lots on Sixth street. The proposal sparked a wide-ranging discussion about affordable housing. The current plan calls for the lots to be restricted as affordable housing for 10 years. Ben Hall Jr. suggested an amendment to restrict the lots in perpetuity; “The need is desperate,” he said, referring to the ongoing housing crisis.

Four-hour meeting included light moments. — Maria Thibodeau

But selectman Arthur Smadbeck offered another view, saying the program is designed to provide housing for young people who don’t always qualify for affordable housing. “We’re trying to emulate what we used to do in the past, which is provide a leg up to some of our young people who could come in and put their time and effort in to build a home, build a family, help our community, build our community. And at some point in the future they would be fully vested in these properties,” Mr. Smadbeck said. “We desperately want them to stay here but they’re having a difficult time staying,” he also said. “I look at what they give to us and their work and their efforts in Edgartown, I look at that as equity that pays us back way more than the few dollars that we subsidize them.”

He noted that among the resident homesites in Edgartown, all of which had 10-year restrictions, all but two are still being lived in by the people who built the homes.

The amendment failed and the article carried.

Later as the meeting wound toward the four-hour mark, voters took up the final article: a nonbinding proposal submitted by petition calling on police and officials to not use town funds to enforce federal immigration laws. The initiative aims to continue a longstanding practice of allowing law-abiding illegal immigrants to live in the community free from fear of harassment by law enforcement.

Police chief David Rossi read a statement that all Island police chiefs are in support of the proposal. Immigration lawyer Rebecca McCarthy said the statement “affirmed good community policing practices of our local law enforcement.”

Moderator Jeff Norton kept things moving. — Maria Thibodeau

“It’s the right thing to do,” said the Rev. Chip Seadale, an Edgartown resident and the pastor at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, adding that it supports town police, officials and “people in our community who find themselves in a place where they don’t have much power.”

“I’m very proud to be part of this community,” he said. All three speakers were met with applause.

Voter Peter Look delivered a lengthy statement against the article that prompted calls for a vote as the hour neared 11 p.m. Chappaquiddick residents gathered near the door to make the last ferry home.

The article easily carried, met with more applause. Mr. Norton ended the meeting with his customary reminder for voters to turn out to the polls Thursday. “Don’t forget, you’ve got a lot of questions on the ballot,” he said.