Oak Bluffs voters moved expeditiously through a special town meeting Tuesday evening, approving all 12 articles on the warrant in under 30 minutes with little discussion. 

Starting promptly at 7 p.m. and moderated by Jack Law, the meeting kicked off with a vote to reaffirm the construction of a solar energy system near the Oak Bluffs landfill. The solar project initially received voter approval at a town meeting in 2018, but its development was delayed by the Covid pandemic. The town asked residents to reaffirm their support Tuesday. 

“This project has already gone through an iteration with the MVC and with our planning board,” said town administrator Deborah Potter. “However, the original [request for proposal] under which it was issued is no longer in effect… so with this confirmatory vote we are able to send it back out for another.” 

Residents approved the project unanimously.

Voters also supported funding several town maintenance projects, including those on its waterways, the Oak Grove Cemetery and the harbor. They additionally voted to spend $57,300 on a new truck for the harbor master. 

Some discussion arose when the town asked voters to declare two vacant town-owned parcels as surplus and available for affordable housing development. 

“I’m kind of wondering why these surplus properties are just coming up for potential development now, as opposed to any time in the past,” said resident Steve Auerbach. 

Both properties are among several others in Oak Bluffs that the town hopes to reserve for affordable housing, said Ms. Potter. But title issues can often delay the process, she added.

“We are also looking at doing a comprehensive review of all town properties, and we’ll be doing that in conjunction with the affordable housing committee to ascertain what the long-term needs of the town are,” she said. 

The parcels, located on Panola avenue and Oak avenue, were both approved as surplus. 

Voters worked swiftly through the rest of the meeting, passing minor changes to the wording and format of town bylaws and updates to classification grades and compensation ranges for town employees.

The meeting adjourned at 7:26 p.m.