Gov. Francis W. Sargent came to Association Hall in Tisbury Saturday afternoon to sign the state land use control bill for the Vineyard - a bill that had its start in the same lovely white and blue meeting place in January of 1973.
Then, the governor came at the request of the Dukes County Planning and Economic Development Commission to listen to Islanders tell him about Island problems - land use was chief among them - and consider ways the state could help.
Then, the governor warned, “There is not one inch of available land on the Islands that is not being eyed by developers today.”
Saturday, casually dressed in white trousers and a pale blue sports jacket, the governor visited the Island briefly before flying on to the Barnstable County Fair, but stayed long enough to enact - at precisely 3:20 p.m. by his watch, though there was some question in his mind about the date - the state land use bill.
Most of the small group of 20 or so spectators were planning commission members or members of the Concerned Citizens of Martha’s Vineyard or the Vineyard Conservation Society. They were, most of them, on hand 18 months ago.
In his remarks upon signing the measure, the governor expanded the horizons of the legislation which Islanders have always thought of as being tailor made for them.
“Let me say again,” he said. “There are developers looking at every single inch of available land in the Commonwealth, particularly land near the water...If the developers do the planning we’re the losers.”
With the governor for the ceremony were state Sen. John F. Aylmer and Rep. Terrence P. McCarthy. Mr. McCarthy was obviously delighted that the moment of signing had come for the measure that has been his chief legislative concern since taking office nearly two years ago.
“In government,” he said, “it’s unusual that a promise is kept as quickly as this one has. Many times commitments are not fulfilled for many years. But today we are seeing the completion and the fulfillment of a promise the governor made 18 months ago, and this is very unusual, especially considering the way things work in the State House. Governor Sargent is a very unusual politician.”
Calling the bill “one of the major achievements of the 1974 legislative session,” the governor made the following statement:
“This new law will help you, the residents of this Vineyard, control development on your Island.
“Martha’s Vineyard wants and needs this legislation. On March 14, the people of this Island expressed their support for land use regulation when they voted in favor of this bill by nearly two to one.
“It was this commitment that in large part provided the momentum so essential for passage.
“The cornerstone of this new law is the creation of a 21-member Martha’s Vineyard commission. The commission will protect those areas most threatened by development and regulate any development which affects more than one community.
“The commission is also empowered to assume any duties under the proposed federal legislation for the Islands of Nantucket Sound. I strongly support this legislation, and will continue working with Senators Kennedy and Brooke, Congressman Studds, and the rest of the Massachusetts delegation to ensure its passage.

Critical Step Forward

“The legislation I am signing today represents a critical step forward in the evolving state-local partnership in land use.
“We will learn from this new law and from the experience of the Martha’s Vineyard commission.
“What we can accomplish on Martha’s Vineyard can be the prototype for land use across this state. The potential is there for us to grasp.”
Lewis S. W. Crampton, head of the state Department of Community Affairs and the man charged by the governor with the responsibility for drafting the legislation, could not be on hand for the signing. He was in Annapolis, Md. attending a conference concerned with federal money available for planning work, such as that which must be done by members of the Island commission created by the State Bill.
He released the following statement:
“I would like to congratulate Governor Sargent, the Massachusetts legislature and particularly the residents of Martha’s Vineyard who have worked so long and so hard to safeguard the future of the Island.
“This bill proves that the state and the local communities can work together to solve regional problems. I am proud of the small part I plated in that.
“I truly regret that I cannot be present for the signing, but I am looking forward to working cooperatively with the citizens of Martha’s Vineyard in the future.”
Governor Sargent, Mr. Crampton, Mr. McCarthy and Edwin G. Tyra, chairman of the county planning commission have all expressed concern that planning now for the Nov. 5 election of Martha’s Vineyard land and water commissioners on the state ballot.
Their title was chosen by State House election officials who are frantically trying to prepare nomination papers and ballots for use in November.