During a special joint meeting on Tuesday afternoon with the Oak Bluffs affordable housing committee, the Oak Bluffs select board voted to approve the authorization of up to $300,000 toward the municipal housing trust in order to finance the contract for the 82 Pennacook Ave. — also known as the Noyes Building — renovation.
Plans to convert the former storefront into two housing units — a one-bedroom and a studio apartment — had been up for bid by the town since April and, according to the bid posting, the project must be completed by Jan. 31, 2023.
Time being of the essence, AHC member Jim Bishop said the town runs the risk of missing out on an already secured “$50,000 or $60,000” in state funding by July 1 if the approval for the $300,000 and its contract is delayed. “We need to get started as soon as possible,” he said, adding, “When we started planning over a year ago, the cost of materials was much lower than it is today.”
Unused funds will be returned to the town.
Advocating for the approval to award Oak Bluffs–based construction company Skogstrom Enterprises Resource with the contract, executive director Melissa Vincent said, “We’re in a perfect storm right now. Construction is at the highest it’s been since in the ’80s. Building materials are high, people are busy.” The select board and the AHC agreed to contract Skogstrom Enterprises in a unanimous vote.
In other Oak Bluffs business, Lobsterville Bar and Grille owner Leslie Graham was met with resistance on her request for an entertainment license. Concerns were raised by the board about allowing amplification on the harbor — although the request was for indoor use only. Select board member Jason Balboni said because the venue lacks air conditioning, doors must be left open, resulting in a determination of it being “outdoor amplification” which could lead to complaints.
On where complaints would possibly stem from, select board vice chair Gail Barmakian said, “The residents across the way, and the neighbors along the harbor, and depending on which way the wind blows.”
Balboni said he “wouldn’t feel comfortable” approving the license until having more information.
Letters sent to the select board by Oak Bluffs Police and Fire departments and read by select board chair Ryan Ruley confirmed that there are no records of any violations.
Despite Graham’s assertion that the request does not differ from approved requests for the restaurant spanning years, the select board decided to table the decision until June 28.