For nearly 20 years, the town of Oak Bluffs has been replacing many of the old lampposts in town, built in the 1960s, with more decorative and historically accurate ones.

The project was initiated by the town historic commission and the most recent phase of renovation began in April 2018, replacing the lampposts that line the waterfront from the Steamship Authority terminal to the top of Inkwell beach. The project was completed in May of this year. Funds to purchase and install 26 historically accurate lampposts came from a $150,000 Community Preservation Act grant.

Now the town is removing approximately half the lampposts, after complaints that they were too bright and spoiling the beautiful night skies over Ocean Park and Nantucket Sound.

Highway department superintendent Richard Combra said complaints from town residents that the new lampposts were causing light pollution began to trickle into the selectmen’s office in May and continued on throughout the summer.

Responding to the complaints, selectmen advised the highway department to reduce the number of the newly installed lampposts. Currently, each lamppost stands between 50 and 75 feet apart. Mr. Combra said every other lamp post will be removed, increasing the spacing to between 100 and 150 feet.

Construction — or deconstruction, rather — is already under way.

“It was a combination of a response to the complaints and that the board of selectmen felt, as I did, we may have made a mistake in putting in too many lights, too close together,” Mr. Combra said. “It’s something we could have lived with, but making it right sits better with everybody.”

Town administrator Robert Whritenour said in addition to the spacing of the posts, the complaints could also be the result of the globes not having a cap, as the former ones did, which allows light to emit upwards toward the night sky.

Mr. Combra also said the highway department will be testing different types of bulbs with lower lumens and warmer tones to offset the light emissions.

Though there has been no formal decision yet, Mr. Combra said the 13 lampposts that have been removed may be used to replace old fixtures still standing on the other side of the SSA terminal running along the North Bluff, or possible on Circuit avenue.

He estimated the removal will cost $10,000 and the lights will be turned back on in time for the winter holidays.