In an effort to regain control of their waterfront, Tisbury selectmen voted Tuesday evening to nominate Vineyard Haven harbor as a district of critical planning concern. The nomination will be considered by the Martha’s Vineyard Commission.

The nomination calls for the establishment of a DCPC zone from Hasselton Head, about halfway between the Steamship Authority terminal and West Chop, extending to each jetty in the harbor. The decision comes after months of discussion concerning the most effective way for Tisbury to regulate the harbor following a dramatic increase in business activity last summer.

Fox Navigation’s fast ferries, Sassacus and Tatobam, have provided urgency to the movement, raising concern that the town could not exercise adequate judgment and control in the harbor.

“My intent is to look at the uses of the harbor, including ferries, freight and other commercial and noncommercial uses, so that we can regulate and plan better for the harbor in the future,” said selectman Tristan Israel. “We hope to find that we can develop regulations where we currently have none.”

Mr. Israel and chairman Ed Coogan voted in favor of the nomination, expressing their desire for a more effective method of regulating the harbor. Selectman Thomas Pachico said he believes there is a need for continued public discussion before such a decision is made. Mr. Pachico said he was not comfortable voting, and could not yet support the nomination.

“I don’t think I’m ready yet,” Mr. Pachico said. “We should continue to seek public input and examine our ability to make the regulations without the commission. We’re not going to have skyscrapers and McDonald’s coming in here if we don’t go to the commission. And that’s because it’s not zoned for McDonald’s and skyscrapers.”

Mr. Coogan did not hesitate to push for the vote, in spite of Mr. Pachico’s desire for more public discussion. Mr. Coogan said the selectmen had given the public adequate opportunities to speak, holding several public discussions prior to Tuesday’s meeting.

“We’ve set aside time for public discussion and people haven’t shown up,” Mr. Coogan said. “We’ve been talking and talking about this thing for months. I’m not going to waste more time waiting for people to show up. I’d like to make a decision tonight.”

Mr. Pachico said he also felt the selectmen lack direction regarding the nomination, neglecting to establish a list of possible guidelines and regulations they consider appropriate for DCPC consideration.

“We don’t really know where we’re heading with this,” he said. “I think it would be wise to take a little more time to focus our direction.”

Mr. Coogan explained that when the DCPC hearing is scheduled at the Martha’s Vineyard Commission, concerned residents will have a chance to voice their opinions concerning possible regulations to be imposed in the harbor.

“That’s another chance for people to let us know what they feel should be done,” he said. “And that’s when we’ll come up with a definite direction. Hopefully the hearing will be well attended.”

Mr. Pachico continued to express concern with the decision, citing the virtual lock on building permits that accompanies a DCPC designation.

“I’m also concerned that no development permits will be granted,” he said. “That could affect a lot of people.”

Although the DCPC designation calls for a one-year moratorium on the issuance of development permits, exemptions can be received following a special hearing with a commission development committee.

Mark Clark, owner of Martha’s Vineyard Parasailing & Water Skiing & Jet Skiing, attended the meeting to express his concern that the DCPC was directed at jet ski users.

“I read in the paper that it’s going to regulate my business even more,” he said. “I want to know if this thing is aimed at us. Because this is a legitimate business and we apply for licenses and operate under strict rules already.”

Mr. Israel told Mr. Clark that the decision is not directed at the jet ski rental agency, but has a far broader intent and purpose.

“I am happy to say that I haven’t heard anything about jet skis in months,” Mr. Israel said. “Things have improved dramatically and that makes me as pleased as you can imagine. This isn’t about jet skis, it’s about our ability to control our harbor in the event of newly arriving businesses. It’s not designed to affect any businesses currently operating in the harbor.”

On the lighter side: Tisbury selectmen voted at the opening of Tuesday’s meeting to designate a rock submerged off West Chop as the James H. Douglas rock. Mr. Douglas was a Secretary of the Air Force and assistant Secretary of Defense.

In addition to its new name, the rock will also be home to a new Coast Guard day marker, as it has been the site of numerous scrapings with vessels.

The nomination was requested by Commodore Francis (Pat) West and Hugh Schwarz. Mr. West and his wife attended the meeting to thank the selectmen for their support.