As Aquinnah’s annual town meeting in May approaches, the select board continued to hear requests for warrant articles at its meeting Tuesday. Proposals ranged from reviving the town’s summer sailing program to adopting stricter environmental building code standards.

In a presentation to the select board, climate and energy committee chair Bill Lake requested two warrant articles proposing stricter building standards for new construction.

Aquinnah is part of a 10-town pilot program to eliminate fossil fuels in all new construction, but the state’s Department of Energy Resources is requesting that participating towns adopt a model rule.

Aquinnah already follows most of the proposed restrictions, Mr. Lake said, except that the town currently exempts fossil fuel appliances related to indoor cooking.

To fully align with the department’s model rule, Mr. Lake requested the town remove its exemption for indoor cooking, effectively prohibiting gas stoves in all new construction. Outdoor gas grills would still be allowed, as would propane or diesel generators, because they are not part of the building itself, Mr. Lake clarified.

The committee chair also renewed his request for the town to adopt a set of specialized building codes that would make all new construction more energy efficient.

“Thirty per cent of the Island’s carbon dioxide emissions come from heating and cooling,” Mr. Lake said.

If adopted, the select board could choose whether the new requirements go into effect in January 2024 or July 2024. While in support of the accelerated timeline, Mr. Lake said it could potentially burden local building inspectors who might not be able to fully enforce the ever-changing environmental codes.

“One reason to defer would be to let builders and inspectors familiarize themselves,” he said.

In other business, town clerk Gabriella Camilleri approached the select board as a community member to request $12,000 to revive the Aquinnah summer sailing program taught by Charlie Shipway. Mr. Shipway had led the program for a decade before it stopped in 2018 and had expressed interest in starting it up again. The program would be open to both Aquinnah residents and renters, Ms. Camilleri said.

The select board has not yet made final decisions on the contents of the town’s warrant.

Aquinnah’s town meeting is set for May 9 at 7 p.m. at the Aquinnah town hall, with the election to follow May 11 from noon to 8 p.m.

Aquinnah has also scheduled a special town meeting for April 26 at 7 p.m. to vote on a $2 million request to commission a feasibility study on the regional high school. For the funding to go through, the warrant article needs approval from all six Island towns.

Not wanting to be the last town to vote on the matter, Aquinnah chose the special town meeting date to be more in line with the other towns’ schedules, town administrator Jeff Madison said.

The special town meeting will also include warrant articles to allow residents to rent out accessory dwellings and to make Juneteenth and Cranberry Day town holidays while renaming Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day.

Another warrant article seeks to exempt town-owned properties from a restriction that designates them as residential properties. Because Aquinnah has no commercial zone under their current zoning bylaws, select board member Tom Murphy explained, this exemption would allow properties such as the Gay Head lighthouse to be used for non-residential purposes.