Oak Bluffs will have another town meeting this summer to ratify a pair of big-ticket spending articles already passed by the voters. 

The select board Tuesday voted to hold a special town meeting on June 25 at 7 p.m. at the Oak Bluffs Elementary School to reauthorize two borrowing articles that were approved at the 2022 annual town meeting. 

The town needs to reapprove spending $26 million to upgrade the wastewater treatment facility and $6.9 million for the East Chop revetment.

“This is solely and exclusively for the purpose of fixing the timing defect from two years ago,” explained town administrator Deborah Potter.

Since both of these projects include debt exclusion, they had to be passed both at town meeting and on the ballot. According to the text of Proposition 2 1/2, the ballot vote had to occur by Sept. 15 following town meeting approval or the vote would no longer be considered effective. The vote to approve the wastewater project was held in November during the state election, and the vote to approve the East Chop project was held with the annual town election last year.

Though the meeting date was set by the board, the select board is expected to sign off on the warrants for the special town meeting at the May 7 select board meeting.

The $26 million will be used to complete wastewater treatment facility upgrades and add to the sewer system’s capacity. The $6.9 million is intended to reduce erosion risks along the East Chop Bluff. The decision to allow the debt exclusion still stands, but the special town meeting will confirm that the town still approves of these appropriations.

In other business, the board heard a pair of proposals from restaurateurs in town.

The Pawnee House, a seasonal restaurant on Kennebec avenue, applied for new outdoor seating options as part of its liquor license. 

“Option A is to have three round tables right outside of The Pawnee House, abutting Healey Square…this would actually go into a little bit of town property,” Dick Cohen, the father of one of the restaurant owners Alex Cohen, said on behalf of the restaurant and G and B Sales, which owns the building. 

The second option would have three rectangular tables along the square and then one on Kennebec, both totally on the restaurant’s property, he said. 

Mr. Cohen added that the tables would be brought inside when the restaurant was closed. He also said that a survey concluded that G and B Sales owns about 100 feet of sidewalk along the property line on Kennebec avenue.

According to Mr. Cohen, an agreement made in 1993 between the town and the property owner stated that the owners could not obstruct the Kennebec avenue sidewalk. He cited a law saying this type of agreement expired after 30 years. He offered to continue allowing the town to access the sidewalk in exchange for the outdoor seating option that would use town property.

The select board was caught off guard by the request and wanted more information.

“I, as one select board member, need clarification, not from you, because you’ve made a very, very good presentation, but from town counsel on some of these…not clear cut legal issues,” said Gail Barmakian. “I think some of the things that you’re saying is somewhat problematic.”

Select board member Emma Green-Beach raised concerns about how outdoor seating could disrupt the pedestrian traffic in Healey Square.

“Even if you had tables that were on what is your property…then you have some sort of partition to keep things separate because you’re asking to serve alcohol outside,” she said, “Then this is really disrupting the whole flow of Healey Square, which the town and everyone just spent so much money on.”

The board plans to visit the restaurant on May 7. 

A liquor license application for a new restaurant also caused confusion among select board members. 

Board members felt that Menotomy, which plans to open in the new building where Red Cat Kitchen once stood, didn’t have enough information in its application for a seasonal liquor license.

“This is a little bit irregular from what I’m used to seeing,” said Ms. Barmakian. 

She voiced concerns that there were not enough details about the restaurant, such as a manager or business hours, in the application for the select board to make an informed decision. 

“It seems as if the premises want an alcohol license to be filled in later,” she said. 

Geoghan Coogan, the lawyer who spoke on behalf of restaurant owner Gary Charles, explained that the business filed for an alcohol license early on in the permitting process so the restaurant could open before the end of the summer season.

“If we wait for the business part of that application, the [Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission] will not get this license back to us until September and the season’s gone. We have to get the ABCC started going while the building finishes,” he said. 

The board decided to conditionally approve the license and the restaurant will have to return for final approval. 

In his first meeting as a select board member, K. Mark Leonard submitted a draft policy that would require all board and committee open meetings be made available remotely in real time.