Tisbury officials this week wrestled with whether the town should establish a district of critical planning concern (DCPC) for Vineyard Haven harbor, an area that currently has a detailed zoning plan for the shore but no controls for the water.

At a meeting Tuesday night session with the town planning board, members of the board of selectmen explained their rationale for considering a DCPC -- a Martha’s Vineyard Commission overlay planning district -- as a mechanism for regulating activities on the harbor.

“This started with us feeling as if there were loopholes we didn’t feel would get filled,” said Ed Coogan, chairman of the board of selectmen. “Looking at the harbor, you can see areas that are not under control.”

Heightened activity on the harbor last summer precipitated the decision to look at a DCPC, he continued, with such operations as the fast ferry Sassacus raising concerns over a lack of town influence on the waterway.

“The DCPC allows us to look at our existing rules and regulations, and see what we have and what we need,” said selectman Tristan Israel. “The commission would work with the town to draft regulations the town would enforce.”

Selectman Thomas Pachico urged caution about allowing regulatory responsibilities to slip out of town control, saying that Tisbury boards should promulgate regulations rather than a state agency such as the commission.

The board of selectmen will conduct broader public discussions before nominating the harbor as a DCPC, members announced. The next step in the process is a meeting of harbor management and planning officials that is scheduled for this month.