A town-sponsored project to develop 60 units of affordable housing in Oak Bluffs has been reconfigured to protect habitat at the site and could soon be bolstered by a law making its way through Beacon Hill.

In November the select board awarded a bid to Island Housing Trust and Boston-based Affirmative Investments for the project. Known as the Southern Tier development, the plan is to build 45 units on the 7.8-acre property as part of phase one and then revisit the project to add another 15 units in phase two. The parcel is located off the Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road near the YMCA.

The project is also being supported by a proposed land swap in the area between the town and the Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank. The town will give up its 24-acre so-called doughnut hole property for an adjacent land bank property of the same size. The swap will connect the 7.8-acre parcel with the newly acquired 24-acre one, giving the town enough land to develop phase two in the future, Oak Bluffs affordable housing committee chair Mark Leonard told the Gazette by phone.

The legislation to enable the land swap recently passed the state house and now heads to the state senate for a vote. At its meeting Tuesday, the select board authorized a deed transfer for the doughnut hole property from the defunct Oak Bluffs resident homesite committee to the town affordable housing trust. The procedural move was needed in order to give the affordable housing trust legal authority over the property, Mr. Leonard said. Dissolved in 2009, the homesite committee holds another 16 properties, which will need to be transferred by the select board.

“This is a little cleanup work that needs to be done in order to transfer the doughnut hole property,” Mr. Leonard said at the meeting.

Also Tuesday, Oak Bluffs town administrator Deb Potter gave an update on the project. At a recent meeting with the Massachusetts Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program, representatives from the organization informed the design team that development needed to be kept under five acres in order to protect the imperial moth at the site, Ms. Potter said.

“They just reconfigured it a little bit to better design the location of the housing units so that it would fit underneath the five-acre area,” Ms. Potter said.

Selectman Brian Packish, who attended the meeting with NHESP, said the new plan includes the same number of units. About one acre of developed land had to be shaved off in order to accommodate the state’s request.

“The plan doesn’t look very different. It’s still the same number of units,” Mr. Packish said. “They moved some lines around to make it so the disturbed area was just under five acres.”

Still in the design stage, the project will require review by the Martha’s Vineyard Commission as a development of regional impact (DRI). It also needs approval from the wastewater commission as well as the Oak Bluffs zoning board of appeals. The goal is to begin construction in the spring of 2023 and finish up in 2025, Mr. Leonard said.

In other business Tuesday, the select board selectwoman Gail Barmakian announced that the town will celebrate Della Hardman Day on July 30 in Ocean Park. Speakers and performers come together for the annual celebration in honor of Ms. Hardman, an Island artist, educator and activist who wrote the Oak Bluffs column for the Gazette. Ms. Hardman died in 2005.

“This is an annual event, it’s been going on for a number of years. They do a very fine job, there are a number of people that go,” Ms. Barkmakian said. “Della Hardman was a significant member of our community.”