Amid growing negative public sentiment over a telephone pole replacement project on the Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road, the Tisbury selectmen have referred the project to the Martha’s Vineyard Commission for possible review.

Meeting in emergency session last Friday, the selectmen voted to refer the NStar project to the MVC as a development of regional impact (DRI). The height and size of the poles is at issue.

The move to refer the matter to the commission was recommended by town administrator John (Jay) Grande after consulting with town clerk Marion Mudge. Selectmen Tristan Israel and Jonathan Snyder approved the recommendation. Selectman Jeffrey Kristal was absent.

Mr. Grande said this week that the emergency meeting had been called in the interest of meeting commission deadlines as quickly as possible, because of the rapid progress of the project.

Mr. Israel raised the issue of the telephone poles at the June 18 selectmen’s meeting, expressing concern about their increased height and diameter and the fact that the town had not been notified of the potential visual impact. “They are desecrating the town,” Mr. Israel said.

Department of public works director Fred LaPiana said he had spoken with NStar about the poles, and the reason for the increased size was to accommodate multiple circuits.

Commission DRI coordinator Paul Foley said he received the selectmen’s referral on Monday, but had been getting concerned phone calls about the telephone poles prior to that.

The project will go before the commission on July 18 in a hearing to decide whether or not it is a development of regional impact.