An exchange of correspondence has begun between Aquinnah selectmen and the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) over the tribe’s planned class II gambling facility in the town.

In early September the selectmen sent a letter to tribal chairman Cheryl Andrews-Maltais requesting a meeting to discuss, among other matters, potential regulatory and public safety concerns with the proposed gambling facility, including increased traffic and whether the tribe intends to serve alcohol.

The town received a reply from Ms. Andrews-Maltais on Oct. 9 acknowledging the town’s concerns and interest in a meeting. Ms. Andrews-Maltais said the tribe has not yet finalized their plans for the project.

“The tribe understands your concern and interest in our gaming project and looks forward to meeting with you once we have more fully developed our plans and have more certainty around the details of the project. We also anticipate requesting a meeting between our respective legal counsel at the time to discuss any potential regulatory or public safety issue that may impact the town,” Ms. Andrews-Maltais wrote.

At the selectmen’s meeting Tuesday, town administrator Jeffrey Madison and town counsel Ron Rappaport presented the board with a draft response to the letter from Ms. Andrews-Maltais. The response acknowledges receipt of the tribe’s letter and interest in the upcoming meeting between the town and the tribe. It also underlines the town assumption that no construction work will take place before the proposed meetings take place.

“We assume that no site work or construction activity will occur in connection with the project prior to the meetings referred to above. If our assumption is incorrect, kindly let us know forthwith,” selectman Gary Haley said, reading from the draft letter.

No dates have been specified for the proposed meetings.

All three selectmen signed the letter and Mr. Madison said he would post it Wednesday morning.

The correspondence between the town and the tribe comes after the gaming arm of the tribe announced in August that it had formed a partnership with the Chickasaw Nation, an Oklahoma-based Native American gaming operation, to assist in the operation and construction of the proposed the bingo hall.

Although scant public details have been released about the proposed bingo hall, tribal members who attended a meeting in August said plans were outlined for a 10,000-square-foot bingo facility that would employ 100 people and be located on a 17-acre piece of land that abuts State Road between Moshup Trail and Black Brook Road. The land is currently undeveloped.

The Vineyard Wampanoags were cleared by a federal appeals court to operate a class II gambling facility in January a lengthy legal battle with the town and a taxpayer group.

On Tuesday selectman Jim Newman also noted that the town and the tribe have not renewed their public safety agreement for four years.

“We also need to have a meeting about the town-tribe public safety agreement,” Mr. Newman said. Aquinnah police chief Randhi Belain requested that the meeting about the public safety agreement take place separately from the meeting concerning the proposed bingo hall.

“We’ll find out what the situation is and when the meeting is going to be,” Mr. Haley said.