The Oak Bluffs planning board will be holding several special meetings this month to discuss potential changes to a number of zoning bylaws.

The board is pondering the expansion of commercial zones, residential zone restrictions, accessory dwelling requirements and regulations on short-term rental properties, among other changes.

Oak Bluffs residents are encouraged to attend the meetings, said planning board chair Ewell Hopkins. Zoning amendments with the most public support will be drafted into warrant articles at the end of the year and recommended for next year’s annual town meeting.

“It’s time to really look at the zoning that’s currently in place,” said Mr. Hopkins. “A lot of it’s dated, and some people may like what it is and some people may say it’s time to make a change.”

Over the summer, the board deployed working groups made up of Island volunteers to survey residents and identify the town’s most pressing zoning issues. The upcoming meetings provide people with an opportunity to share more of their concerns and get clarification on any existing bylaws, said Mr. Hopkins.

“I’m hoping that people come to these and get mad and ask, you know, ‘what the heck is going on?’” said Mr. Hopkins. “I’m hoping it stirs up discussion and we’ll be there to inform them. When these things go to town meeting in April, it will require a supermajority, so we need to include everyone right now.”

Residential and commercial zoning has been a hot topic among Island leaders. Several towns have been eyeing tightening regulations around fractional ownership and large events at residential properties have drawn the ire of residents.

There are only two commercial zones in Oak Bluffs, said Mr. Hopkins, which limits real estate options for new businesses and encourages people to use residential homes for commercial purposes. The board is considering creating additional commercial zones or altering current bylaws to make business operations less restrictive.

“For instance, if you were a newly-certified veterinarian… and you wanted to move to Martha’s Vineyard and start your practice in an office and not out of your home, you have two streets where you can do that in Oak Bluffs,” said Mr. Hopkins. “Are folks okay with that? That’s what we’re hoping to find out.”

For a planning board meeting schedule and full list of proposed zoning topics, visit the town's website.