A subcommittee of the Martha’s Vineyard Commission got its first look Monday at property owner Charles Hajjar’s plans to rebuild the Ocean View Restaurant in Oak Bluffs with 10 apartments upstairs.

The proposed three-story structure at Chapman and Wayland avenues would replace the smaller building that burned to the ground nearly two years ago.

Mr. Hajjar, architect Chuck Sullivan and project attorney Ross Seavey met with the MVC’s land use planning committee Monday to prepare for a public hearing before the full commission, tentatively scheduled for March 7.

All three said the project is unlikely to affect neighborhood traffic or parking more severely than the old Ocean View did.

Plans for the rebuilt restaurant, owned by Mike Santoro, have 32 fewer seats than before the fire, when it seated 180.

Mr. Hajjar is leasing part of an adjacent lot for additional parking behind the building, although Mr. Seavey said Monday the agreement has not yet been signed.

The talk of a bakery in the restaurant’s basement is an inflated version of Mr. Santoro’s plans to use the pizza ovens located there when they’re idle early in the day, the applicants said.

“Mike told me he could make his own bread … instead of buying frozen bread and heating it up, he could make his own bread and bake it in the pizza oven. That’s what he meant. No more additional equipment,” Mr. Sullivan said.

Commissioner Fred Hancock questioned the need for a traffic study, saying that given the Ocean View’s long history as a bar and restaurant, he felt the MVC only needed to consider the impact of the 10 proposed apartments as a new development.

But other members of the land use planning committee backed transportation planner Mike Mauro’s request for the applicants to perform a traffic study in advance of the public hearing.

“If it looks like traffic will be less, it may be something that turns into a benefit,” commissioner Doug Sederholm said.

If the applicants are able to hire a consultant quickly, the traffic study could be completed in two and a half to three weeks, Mr. Mauro said.

Although the neighborhood surrounding the Ocean View is residentially zoned, the Ocean View parcel was spot-zoned for commercial use by a 1948 town meeting vote, MVC development of regional impact coordinator Rich Saltzberg said.

At the time of that vote, the Ocean View was a three-story hotel built in 1895, Mr. Saltzberg said. 

The hotel burned down in 1965 and was replaced a few years later by the Ocean View restaurant and bar that met its own end by fire in March 2022.

Mr. Sullivan’s design for the proposed new building pays tribute to the original hotel with Victorian elements including a turreted entrance and a long first-floor porch with decorative woodwork.

Mr. Hajjar said he already has town approval for wastewater flow from both the restaurant and the 10 workforce housing apartments he wishes to build upstairs.

Commissioners on Monday said they will need much more information about the apartments, as well as a firmly worded commitment that they will not be used for short-term rentals.

“We’ve had some problems in the past with applicants offering workforce housing and then it turns out a little differently,” Mr. Sederholm said.

He also told the applicants that if their traffic study is not ready in time for a March 7 hearing, the commission would reschedule.