Producers of Summer House: Martha’s Vineyard, a Bravo reality television series that premiered earlier this year, received Oak Bluffs select board approval Tuesday to start filming scenes for its second season later this week.

The decision was met with resistance from town residents who disapproved of the show’s content and representation of the Vineyard.

To celebrate Oak Bluffs’ rich history as an African American vacation spot, the show’s first season followed 12 Black men and women on a 15-day trip at a luxurious rental home. Between scenes of relationship drama and risqué parties were clips of glistening Vineyard waters, bustling down-Island streets and Island wildlife.

When line producer Angel Johnson requested permission to film new scenic shots for season two, people at the Oak Bluffs select board meeting Tuesday questioned whether the select board should condone the show’s production at all.

“This program is a horrible reflection of Martha’s Vineyard and Oak Bluffs,” said Oak Bluffs resident Thelma Baxter. “I am seriously worried about the people who were attracted to come here by Summer House: Martha’s Vineyard… and I am concerned about my property value.”

Select board member Dion Alley warned Ms. Baxter and other frustrated residents that the board’s objection to film production would be inappropriate and violate free speech. The board's job, he said,  is to rule specifically on the company’s application and the potential impacts of filming on the town.

But Oak Bluffs resident Leslie Fitzsimmons argued that the show has negative impacts on the town that fall under the board’s jurisdiction.

“I am a year-round resident and I come to all of the meetings and see everything that the select board tries to do in service of our town,” she said. “But this is not in service of our town… and to assist them by making their show more attractive seems counterintuitive to our best interest.”

Select board chair Emma Green-Beach agreed with Ms. Fitzsimmons’ feelings about Summer House, but ultimately pushed that the board cannot restrict production.

After Ms. Johnson promised to provide the board with additional details about the times and locations of filming, she received its unanimous support.

In other business, the board approved the installation of AT&T cellular service equipment on a Pequot avenue telephone pole to boost cellular signal in the area.

Several Pequot avenue residents, including The Cottagers, Inc., an organization of African-American homeowners, attended the meeting in protest of the installation and frustration over their lack of notice.

“We had no notification about this, as The Cottagers, and that’s a concern,” said Patricia Bush, president of The Cottagers, Inc. “And we are concerned with the aesthetics and don’t really understand where this will be.”

Board member Jason Balboni explained that the installation of the cellular infrastructure, known as a small cell, has been in the works since 2021. It will be on an existing pole and should not be easily noticeable, he said.

Ms. Green-Beach added that, according to town records, notifications were sent out to Pequot addresses in 2021.

The board approved the small cell unanimously.

The board also gave its support to a BiodiversityWorks project that involves placing 12 camera traps around Oak Bluffs to track Island mammals.

Cameras will be attached 10 to 12 inches above the ground on trees on public land, with the hopes of capturing footage of wandering animals. The videos will be reviewed by Oak Bluffs School students learning about data collection and Island habitats.

When the board expressed concerns about privacy, Silas Beers, a BiodiversityWorks researcher, assured it that the cameras’ artificial intelligence system blanks out any human presence detected.