A petition drive is under way in Vineyard Haven to allow the sale of hard liquor in restaurants that are now restricted to serving beer and wine.

If a few procedural errors can be ironed out, the question will come before voters at the annual town meeting on April 12 as a first step in a process that involves petitioning the state legislature, and then returning for a second and final decision by voters in the ballot box.

The petition signed by 22 registered voters was submitted to town clerk Hillary Conklin on Jan. 12. It seeks to include an article on the annual town meeting warrant that would direct selectmen to file a home rule petition with the state legislature, as happened some six years ago when the town changed from dry to wet by voting to allow the sale of beer and wine in restaurants with 30 seats or more.

The selectmen can now issue up to 19 year-round licenses and an unlimited number of seasonal licenses for beer and wine sales with meals in qualifying restaurants. Currently there are seven year-round licenses and one seasonal license. The licenses provide revenue for the town, costing $2,500 annually on top of a $300 application fee.

Former Tisbury selectman and current finance committee member Jeff Kristal, who is a Vineyard Haven innkeeper, has been widely credited with starting the petition, although Mr. Kristal denied that this week when speaking to the Gazette.

“I’m just interested in seeing Vineyard Haven alive again,” he said.

Mr. Kristal said giving people a choice of what type of beverage they can enjoy with a meal makes sense for a tourist destination. He also said the addition of all alcoholic drinks would increase town revenue through meal taxes.

“People want to drink with dinner, they want a choice,” he said.

Other petitioners include a mix of business owners and residents and one selectman — Larry Gomez. “I didn’t support the beer and wine licenses the first time around, but there haven’t been problems and it brings more tax dollars into the town,” Mr. Gomez said this week.

The other two selectmen are split on the question.

Chairman Tristan Israel, who is running unopposed for reelection this spring, said he opposes the initiative.

Mr. Israel agreed that there have been no problems since the town began allowing beer and wine sales in restaurants, but said he worries that expanding to all alcohol sales in restaurants will open the door to package store sales, which he does not support.

“It’s working well now, and why tinker with something working well,” he said.

Selectman Melinda Loberg said she has no objection to the initiative. When the question of beer and wine was first debated, she was a member of the finance committee and was in favor of the change.

“I feel as if the concerns about [beer and wine] changing the community didn’t materialize,” Mrs. Loberg said. But she added: “I hope there is a pretty bright line between being able to have a drink of your choice at a meal and bars on Main street.”

Phillip McAndrews is a Tisbury resident and Oak Bluffs businessman who with his wife Colleen McAndrews owns the Offshore Ale Co., a popular brewery and eatery on Kennebec avenue. He said he signed the petition because he believed diversifying options for visitors is the best way to create a more stable business climate in a seasonal community.

“There’s always competition, that’s just the nature of the beast, but our real competition is drawing people to the Island on a year-round basis,” Mr. McAndrews said.

Before the article can go on the annual town meeting warrant, petitioners must correct a technical glitch. The petition mistakenly requested that the question be placed on the warrant for a special town meeting, which would have required 100 signatures. A petition to place an article on the annual warrant requires only 10 signatures, and petitioners said this was the intent. At their meeting Tuesday, the selectmen voted to allow the backers of the initiative to resubmit their petition with the correct language and at least 10 signatures by Friday at 4 p.m.

The beer and wine question in Tisbury sparked widespread debate the first time around, and townspeople were deeply divided on the question. The measure took two votes to pass after the first ballot vote ended in a historic tie.

A second vote saw approval.

“Last time we had a ballot question during the 2008 Obama election there was a record turnout in Tisbury,” Mrs. Loberg recalled. “And not necessarily for Obama but for beer and wine.”