Construction on a long-awaited project to shore up the bluff along East Chop Drives inches closer as Oak Bluffs’ contractor works out where to stage its heavy equipment. 

In a presentation to the select board Tuesday, Tighe & Bond, the company in charge of the East Chop revetment and coastal bank restoration project, anticipated that construction could start September 2025 and potentially end in May 2027. 

“The reason for the gap between May and September is that, as part of the project, there is no construction during the summer tourist season, just due to how busy it is on the Island,” said project manager Daniel Ciaramicoli.

The town's contractor wants to use Lincoln Park as a staging area. — Ray Ewing

Tighe & Bond initially raised using the East Chop Association’s Lincoln Park to store its machines and materials for construction, which drew concerns from members of the association. Details on the plan are still being hammered out, but the company proposed building temporary buildings at the park, necessitating the removal of some vegetation at the park. Tighe & Bond met with the East Chop Association and town staff last week to discuss using the park. 

“If Lincoln Park is not available for staging, it’s not going to kill the project. It will just make it a lot easier,” said Briony Angus, the permitting lead from Tighe & Bond, at the meeting last week.

After feedback, the contractor cut down the portion of the park it would take up, and said it would restore the park during the summer when construction was not in process. 

“The contractor will fully exit the entire site…for the summer,” Ms. Angus said, “All of this will go away.”

At the select board meeting Tuesday, Tighe & Bond said it had also met with the East Chop Beach Club to discuss using the club’s parking lot as a staging area.

The eroding bluff has caused a section of East Chop Drive to be closed going back to 2018

The town has a webpage dedicated to the project where residents can submit questions. Town administrator Deborah Potter reminded residents that Oak Bluffs will have a special town meeting June 25 to reapprove $6.9 million for the project.

In other business at Tuesday’s select board meeting, the board voted to allow King of Mopeds to relocate its rental business on the condition that the company submits additional floor plans that outline the number of mopeds that will be at each location. 

East Chop Drive remains closed because of the bluff erosion. — Ray Ewing

The vote came after a lengthy discussion about the court order that waived the requirement for a training track for prospective renters.

Tim Rich, former Chilmark police chief and a founding member of the group Mopeds Are Dangerous, spoke against the application. He said that not having a training track was in violation of the town bylaws. Select board chair Gail Barmakian said that the court order took precedent.

The board also reached a decision on Midnight Taco’s entertainment license after two meetings. After some members of the board worried about the potential consequences of allowing music to go late into the night, Jordan Wallace, the owner, offered to shorten the hours of the entertainment license.

The select board approved the entertainment license for Monday through Thursday from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. and for Friday and Saturday from 6 p.m. to 12:45 a.m.

The board also approved a recommendation from the harbor advisory committee to charge a $10 fee for people to join the waiting list for the moorings at Lagoon Pond.