Plans for the Martha’s Vineyard Book Festival were put on temporary hold Tuesday, after Chilmark selectmen delayed approval of the biannual summer event until later this spring.

The festival, a free community event held at the Chilmark Community Center every other summer, would normally take place this August, Suellen Lazarus, founder and director of the festival told selectmen Tuesday.

Ms. Lazarus said she hoped to hold a pandemic-safe version of the event this summer called the Summer Series. An adapted version of the Author Series — the festival’s other alternating summer book event — was held last summer on an entirely virtual platform.

According to Ms. Lazarus, the adapted festival would span five days — from August 6 to the 10 — and feature 15 authors, with two or four events scheduled for each day.

The event would be held outdoors at the Community Center in a socially distanced format, with attendance limited to 150 ticketed guests. A free live stream of each event would also be made available online for viewers participating from home, Ms. Lazarus said.

“We think that with appropriate and sufficient planning, and in full consideration of the state’s guidelines, we could do some live programming this summer,” she said. Ms. Lazarus said there would also be changes to the usual festival programming, including replacing the book sales tent with pre-signed books bundled into ticket prices.

Selectmen signaled their support for the community event but hesitated to approve the plan, citing concerns about holding large-scale events as the pandemic continues.

“The proposal might be well thought out, but it’s actually really ambitious . . . [and] much more than anything we’ve done in the past 18 months,” said selectman Warren Doty, noting the town’s general hesitancy about approving summer events, with public safety guidelines and Covid risks still uncertain. Mr. Doty said he would broach the topic at an upcoming board of health meeting Wednesday.

Ms. Lazarus pushed back, noting the need to begin planning for the event as soon as possible with only four months to organize, but selectmen held firm.

“I am comfortable saying that if conditions permit that the concept that we’re looking at seems fine, but I am not going to define what ‘conditions permit’ means, nor am I going to establish a timeline,” said selectman Jim Malkin.

“We all want to see you have a successful event,” said chairman Bill Rossi. “[But] there’s a possibility we may pull the rug out on you.”

In other business Tuesday, selectmen voted unanimously to approve a proposal to use funds from the District Local Technical Assistance Program (DLTA) to hire a consultant for a long-planned mixed income housing project on Peaked Hill.

Proposed by Christine Flynn, economic development and affordable housing planner at the Martha’s Vineyard Commission and the Chilmark planning board, the town would use the allotted funds to bring a consultant on to complete design work for the project by Dec. 1.

A detailed site analysis and scope of work for the project have already been completed, planning board member Peter Cook said.

“I think everybody recognizes that there’s a considerable amount of urgency on this,” said Mr. Cook. “Our impetus here is to work as quickly as we can without taking dangerous shortcuts.”

Selectmen agreed, urging the planning board to move as quickly as possible, as the Island’s housing crisis worsens.

“Get all your ducks in a row, be as clear as you can with your consultant, be as judicious as you can with your time,” said Mr. Malkin.

Also Tuesday, selectmen approved a new plan of action for a project to renovate the HVAC system at the Chilmark School, after a the project received a lone over-budget bid earlier this year.

Robert Hannemann, chairman of the town energy committee, suggested a new direction for the long-awaited project involving carving out a portion of the renovation this summer with existing funding. The pared-down renovation would include removing non-functioning equipment and placing insulation beginning in July, and would require a new bidding process as soon as possible.

Selectmen voted unanimously to approve the idea.

The board also reviewed the town operating budget, which has increased four per cent over last year. Increases are tracked to benefits and insurance, public safety and education spending.