Under court order and on the verge of the busy summer season, the owners of the Island Theatre on Circuit avenue have agreed to take action to repair the run-down building that has been declared a threat to public safety.

A stipulated preliminary order signed in court Thursday afternoon provides a timeline and outlines repairs that must be taken by members of the Hall family, who own the building in a trust. The agreement comes three days after the town filed a complaint asking the court to compel the Halls to repair the vacant theatre.

The Hon. C.J. Moriarty, an associate justice of the superior court, said from the bench in the Edgartown courthouse Thursday that he hoped the Halls would comply with the order. “I did take the time to read the papers of the case before today and it raises some serious issues of public safety,” he said.

Attorney Kevin Cain, representing the Hall family, said he would deliver a progress report next week. — Steve Myrick

The historic theatre has been a topic of discussion in Oak Bluffs and a source of concern for town officials for the past several years. The town complaint describes its as “a defunct, structurally unstable, and neglected movie house” that is a public nuisance. The building inspector has raised concerns that the building could collapse in high winds.

The order for repairs was the result of an agreement between town counsel Ronald H. Rappaport and Kevin C. Cain, a Canton attorney representing the Hall family. Benjamin L. Hall, Brian M. Hall, and Benjamin L. Hall Jr. are trustees of the Lucky 7 Realty Trust, which owns the Island Theatre. They did not appear in court Thursday.

“I am pleased and relieved that we have reached a stipulated preliminary order that counsel has signed,” Mr. Rappaport told the judge during the brief hearing. “Thank you attorney Cain . . . who has been a pleasure to deal with,” he said. The Halls are required to present a written report by next Wednesday that outlines plans for repairs, identities of contractors, and estimated start and completion dates for certain repairs.

Judge Moriarty said he expected Mr. Cain to return to court if the report is not ready in time. Mr. Cain said he would send a status report, “no question about that.” He added that he was on his way shortly to meet with the engineer working on the theatre.

According to the preliminary order, a temporary plan for internal wood framing to be tied to roof trusses and walls has been created by Reid Silva, an engineer hired by the Halls.

Complaint filed by town calls the Island Theatre a public nuisance. — Mark Lovewell

The agreement also calls for the Halls to make their best efforts to complete construction within three weeks of the building permit being issued, and to provide contact information and authorize communication between any contractor and town officials. Upon completion of construction, the agreement states, the defendants will paint the front of the building, which faces Circuit avenue.

Thursday’s agreement will put repairs to the dilapidated theatre on the fast track after years of back and forth between the town and the Hall family, and after a failed effort at the Oak Bluffs annual town meeting in April to have the town fund temporary repairs.

A 13-page complaint filed May 15 by town counsel on behalf of former building inspector Mark Barbadoro and the town of Oak Bluffs recounts the past several years of concern about the theatre, which is between 80 and 100 years old (assessors records date the theatre to 1935; Gazette archives indicate it was built in 1915). It has been vacant for more than a decade.

In the complaint, Mr. Rappaport writes that the theatre is located on one of the busiest commercial streets in town, surrounded by sidewalks, busy restaurants, bars, and clubs, retail establishments, taxi stands, and other public areas.

Concerns about the theatre came to a head in the last year, after an independent structural engineer and a board of survey deemed the building dangerous under the state building code. The Halls were ordered to make repairs, the complaint states, but no action was taken in response to orders from the building inspector. Town selectmen later commissioned a report from a professional engineer, John Lolley, that outlined work required to brace the building’s walls and prevent collapse.

Town counsel Ron Rappaport. — Steve Myrick

Meanwhile, debate in town included whether the theatre should be repaired or torn down, with some selectmen calling for demolition. At the time the building inspector, Mr. Barbadoro, noted that if nothing was done, the state Department of Public Safety could take the quickest or cheapest course of action, which could include shutting down surrounding streets.

The court complaint notes that Mark LaPointe, divisional inspector of the state Department of Public Safety, has advised the town to take action.

In April voters were asked to spend $200,000 to make temporary repairs in advance of the summer season. Following debate about the town’s course of action and who should pay, the article was defeated.

“The theatre’s load-bearing walls are deteriorated and crumbling, its interior rife with mold, and the exterior is in an extreme state of public disrepair,” the complaint filed this week states. “The defendants, the theater’s longtime owners, have publicly promised to undertake structural repairs but, despite numerous directives from the building inspector, have done nothing. Judicial intervention is now warranted to ensure that the public is not endangered.”

The complaint had sought an injunction “requiring the defendant owners . . . to take the necessary steps to prevent its collapse and the attendant injury or damage to the public or nearby property” and to impose daily fines of $100 dating back to Dec. 16.

The theatre owners are now under order, agreed to by all sides, to make the long-awaited repairs.

Earlier in the day, town administrator Robert Whritenour said the selectmen had authorized town counsel to get the Island Theatre structurally stable in advance of the summer season.

“We’re all about public safety, Mr. Whritenour said. “Taking strong action, not sitting back.”