The Islandwide housing bank appears to be headed back to the drawing board after Chilmark voters put the brakes on the plan at their annual town meeting Monday night. Two days later, West Tisbury selectmen said they would ask voters in their town to reconsider the lone vote to approve the housing bank proposal, given growing opposition in other towns and a desire for more study.

Town counsel Ron Rappaport (right) cautioned against amending home rule petition to regulate herbicides. — Mark Alan Lovewell

The home-rule petition to create a housing bank has dominated discussion at every annual town meeting this year, spurring large turnouts and robust debate.

In Chilmark on Monday night, the move to indefinitely postpone two housing bank articles came from Jim Feiner — a housing bank proponent and chairman of the town housing committee — at the end of a lively meeting that saw up-and-down debate on some requests and swift approval of others.

Instead voters agreed to back an alternative plan that would have the selectmen and town housing committee “engage in discussions and negotiations” with the Dukes County Regional Housing Authority and other towns to essentially redraft the home rule petition for the housing bank and take it back to the state legislature.

The alternative — article 32 — includes a provision to send part of the money collected from the short-term rental tax next year to the Molly Flender fund, an established affordable housing trust in town, to be set aside to support the housing bank in the event it is enacted in the future.

Selectman James Malkin said his board worked with the town finance committee on the alternative approach to show that the town is committed to affordable housing, even if it does not approve of the housing bank as proposed.

“It was our intention with this article to give the town an opportunity to say, yes we support affordable housing and yes, we would like to do something,” Mr. Malkin said.

Mr. Feiner thanked selectmen and finance committee members for what he called a smart alternative that has the full support of the housing bank leaders.

“It has become clear that article 32 is a better way to handle the town’s desire and commitment to addressing the housing effort than becoming a member of the housing bank,” he said.

There was lengthy discussion and some confusion on the short-term rental tax funding mechanism, particularly what percentage of collected funds would go to affordable housing.

Selectmen said that will be decided when it becomes clear how much money the tax will generate for the town.

“It’s hard to estimate how much additional income this will be,” said selectman Warren Doty.

School superintendent Matthew D'Andrea made impassioned plea for money to plan a new high school track but the article was soundly defeated. — Mark Alan Lovewell

Town counsel Ron Rappaport said he interpreted the Flender fund article as “political, not legal.”

“It’s a political statement that if this gets voted, then voters would like selectmen to work with other towns on a piece of draft legislation that towns could support,” Mr. Rappaport said.

An amendment proposed by former selectman Frank Fenner to remove funding language for a future vote was voted down after more discussion.

The article passed, and the two housing bank articles were then swiftly defeated by indefinite postponement.

It somewhat mirrored a vote taken in Edgartown two weeks ago when selectman Michael Donaroma led a move to reject the housing bank through indefinite postponement, pledging instead to bring elected leaders together to work on the issue.

Chilmark is the fourth Island town to defeat the housing bank, which would be modeled after the land bank and funded with money from the new short-term rental tax.

Edgartown, Oak Bluffs and Tisbury also rejected the proposal at annual town meetings two weeks ago. Only West Tisbury has voted approval, and that could be reversed after selectmen call for reconsideration at a special town meeting Tuesday.

Aquinnah will be the last town to vote on the housing bank at its annual town meeting next month.

Echoing the theme of all Island annual town meetings to date, turnout on Monday night was large, with a delayed start as 224 voters lined up to check in at the Chilmark Community Center in on a cool, drizzly night. Longtime moderator Everett Poole presided.

Voters also followed West Tisbury in backing a student-led initiative to ban the sale of single-use plastic bottles in town along with a ban on the release of balloons. But they threw a monkey wrench into the regional high school’s planning phase for a new track, voting down their share of a $350,000 project using money from the high school’s excess and deficiency fund.

Vineyard schools superintendent Matthew D’Andrea made an impassioned plea for the funds. “We need a new track at the high school . . . This is a time-sensitive issue,” he said. But Mr. Malkin was unconvinced.

“I do not support using E and D funds for a project that should have been part of the school’s budget,” he said.

School committee member Robert Lionette agreed. He said school leaders should have been more up front about the request and said he believes the project constitutes an inappropriate use of E and D funds.

“It’s an issue of priorities, and I think our priorities are out of whack,” he said. “The monies that are required to maintain the building right now should be our priority.”

Later in the meeting Mr. Lionette did back a different article requesting

the use of E and D funds for the town’s share of a $312,000 feasibility study to assess high school facility needs.

“In this case, I do approve because at some point we have to move forward on that building. It’s getting worse every year,” he said.

The article passed overwhelmingly, although the status of the study remains in limbo since Oak Bluffs rejected its share of the funding early this month.

There was no debate when it came to a $900,000 purchase from the Carroll family for property to build a new emergency services facility adjacent to the town hall.

EMS, fire and first responders lined the back of the room in a show of support for the facility that will include a rebuilt fire station and a building to house Tri-Town ambulance.

Selectman Warren Doty urged approval.

“We’re asking you tonight to approve this purchase so we can move ahead with designing and planning our new emergency facilities,” he said.

Voters readily agreed 189-15, and also quickly passed a followup article requesting $200,000 to begin the design stage for the two public safety buildings.

Voters also strongly backed a home-rule petition that will give the town more control over the use of herbicides in town, despite opposition from a member of the board of health. Matt Poole, who works as the health agent in Edgartown and argued successfully against the herbicide petition as a nonvoter in that town two weeks ago, was less persuasive on his home turf.

Mr. Poole said the bylaw is a good idea, but doesn’t encompass all herbicide users or include a provision to create an oversight group.

“I applaud the effort but I think we can do better,” he said. “I don’t think we can fix it once it’s in place.”

Others called it a place to start.

“If we want to have some say in what chemicals are dropped on top us of then we have to be able to say no,” said Jonah Maidoff.

“All this is, is a starting point,” agreed selectman Bill Rossi.

The petition was approved.

A $10.2 million annual town budget was approved after a lengthy reading of the line items by the moderator Mr. Poole.

“This used to be a nice short article,” he joked.

Voters also backed two zoning bylaw changes spelling out fencing requirements for swimming pools and requirements for large-scale town solar installations. The changes will make Chilmark eligible for grants under the state Green Communities program.

Voters also approved:

• $31,000 to fund the town’s share of five regional social services programs;

• $27,607 to fund the town’s share of maintenance at the emergency communications center;

• $43,633 for the town’s share of repairs and renovations projects at the West Tisbury and Chilmark schools;

• $60,000 in Community Preservation Act funds for Island affordable housing projects;

• $85,000 to buy and install an HVAC system and backup generator for the Community Center;

• $150,000 for various public safety department upgrades and purchases.

The meeting adjourned at 10:20 p.m.