Oak Bluffs police officers, business owners and neighborhood residents filled many of the seats at an alcohol licensing workshop Tuesday evening, held by selectmen during their regular meeting at the public library. Board chairman Brian Packish said after a busy summer in 2019, the town is in the process of updating its policies on businesses that serve alcohol.

“There were a lot of challenges around enforcement,” Mr. Packish said, singling out noise complaints as a frequent concern.

“It was hard last summer,” police chief Erik Blake said. “We need to clarify what a music license is, versus someone maybe having background music outside on a deck.”

The town’s current enforcement policies date from the late 1990s and are outdated, Mr. Blake said.

“It’s unfair to the officers and it’s unfair to the liquor license owners, too, not to have a clear policy,” he told selectmen.

Doug Abdelnour, who owns Nancy’s Snack Bar and Nomans, agreed.

“There needs to be clear guidelines on what business owners are supposed to do,” he said.

Selectman Jason Balboni said the current policies are clear enough, but that everyone affected should take part in making any changes.

“We need to get together, everybody. Put your two cents in and see if there’s something here that we can change to make it better for everybody,” Mr. Balboni said.

Zachary Crabtree and Clara Mikos urged selectmen to support state legislature that would add a deposit to nip-sized liquor bottles. — Louisa Hufstader

Selectmen agreed that the police department would plan a meeting to bring together business owners, public safety officials, neighbors and property owners in order to craft new enforcement policies using the SARA (scanning, analysis, response, assessment) model.

“Usually this process takes a good four hours, solid hours,” Chief Blake said.

Jordan Wallace, who runs the Sand Bar among other businesses in town, said he is in a unique position because he lives on the north bluff not far from the bustling harbor and Circuit avenue business districts.

“People walking back to their cars walk past my bedroom window. I’m listening to it all the time,” Mr. Wallace said.

Many boaters contribute to the nighttime noise, posing their own enforcement challenges, Mr. Wallace added.

“When we talk about enforcement we should do whatever we can to make sure it’s applied across the board, in a thoughtful way,” he said.

Sgt. Michael Marchand said people interested in taking part in the SARA process can sign up by contacting him through the police department website, oakbluffspolice.com.

In other business Tuesday, selectmen approved the Oak Bluffs Association’s annual events, beginning with Harborfest June 20. The Wind Festival will be Sept. 12 and Tivoli Day is set for Sept. 19.

Ladyfest, held on Circuit avenue in October, is not yet confirmed, Oak Bluffs Association president Christine Todd said.

Three Oak Bluffs Arts Strolls also received the board’s approval. These monthly events will close a portion of Dukes County avenue to traffic from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on July 11, August 8 and Sept. 5.

A delegation of eighth-graders from the Oak Bluffs School, Clara Mikos and Zachary Crabtree, asked selectmen to support state legislature that would add a deposit to nip-sized liquor bottles.

“There are only a handful of liquor stores here, but there are nip bottles all over the Island,” Ms. Mikos said.

“Last spring, there was a cleanup on East Chop and people were collecting hundreds of nips,” Mr. Crabtree said.

Selectmen voted unanimously to support the students’ continuing clean-up efforts and to pressure the legislature, through local representatives, to make the deposit a law.

Tuesday’s agenda concluded with a review and approval of the annual town meeting and special town meeting warrants for April 14 and the town election April 16. The election will ask voters for exemption from Proposition 2 1/2 for bonds to fund renovations and reconstruction at town hall. A dollar amount for the proposed project will be made available at the town meeting, town administrator Robert Whritenour said.