A house-size bylaw similar to one adopted in Chilmark eight years ago is in the works for West Tisbury, with a public forum expected early in 2022 and a potential town meeting vote in the spring.

“It’s been two and a half years in the making,” said West Tisbury planning board member Amy Upton, the board’s liaison to the town subcommittee that is drafting the proposed ordinance, titled Preserve West Tisbury. “The Chilmark bylaw was the beginning of the conversation,” Ms. Upton said. “Our bylaw is different in some ways.”

The main concern for West Tisbury, Ms. Upton and planning board chairman Virginia Jones both told the Gazette in interviews this week, is the essential character of the rural agricultural town at a time of sharply increasing property values and residential construction.

“We’ve just got to get people off this greed binge that they’re on, that everything has got to be bigger and better and more expensive and whatever,” Ms. Jones said.

“We’re trying to make sure the Island, and the town in particular, remains a place where the traditions, the heritage, the history and culture — and everything else that we were handed — remains,” she added.

“It’s almost too late now. We’re just about killing the golden goose. The golden eggs are running out here.”

The proposed West Tisbury language follows Chilmark’s lead in adding extra reviews and requiring special permits for building projects over a certain size, Ms. Upton said, with other considerations as well.

“It’s not just size, it’s size in relation to acreage; it’s scale, proportion and relationship to the existing community [and] responsible and conscientious building practices,” she said of the proposed bylaw, which includes a preamble that lyrically describes the town’s traditional ethos.

“We describe it as our love letter to West Tisbury,” Ms. Upton said.

No single development spurred the planning board’s decision to begin working on the new bylaw, Ms. Jones said.

“There were about 20 of them,” she said. “You can’t pin it on anything in particular.”

But Ms. Upton said additional review under the proposed bylaw might — or might not — have led to British architect Norman Foster modifying his controversial building project on the Tisbury Great Pond.

The 4,300-square-foot guest house under construction by the renowned architect is causing a stir among neighbors.

The building was approved by the planning board three years ago as a three-bedroom single-family home. But the website for the Norman Foster Foundation has touted the building as a retreat center to advance its mission of helping new generations of architects, designers and urbanists.

After hearing a litany of complaints from neighbors last month about the project, the planning board sent a letter to the town building inspector outlining the concerns and asking for feedback.

Ms. Upton said this week there had been no formal reply.

She said the Foster house falls into a gray area.

“We know that we cannot weigh in on design,” she said. “He really didn’t break any rules, he skirted our bylaws and we feel unacknowledged if our perspective is irrelevant.” She continued:

“People who come here with a lot of money and a lot of lawyers and a lot of people who work for them who can go through the bylaws and figure out how to get around their intention and do exactly what they please . . . and that doesn’t feel very good.”

Meanwhile, the widespread consternation over Mr. Foster’s guest house/conference center has sparked new conversations about town character, Ms. Upton said.

“That project has sort of reignited the urgency — I don’t want to be alarmist, but I will say urgency,” she said.

“You can’t legislate neighborliness, but I think that’s what we are hoping to affect.”

Formed by the planning board in 2019, the Preserve West Tisbury committee — currently made up of Ivory Littlefield, Samantha Look, Bruce McNalley, Heikki Soikkeli, Ms. Upton and associate members Whit Griswold and Reid Silva — is continuing to refine the details of the bylaw they hope to bring to town meeting next spring.

“We’re still ironing out our draft,” Ms. Upton said this week. “The next step for us is a public forum . . . after the holidays.”

While Ms. Jones has not been involved in drafting the Preserve West Tisbury bylaw, she said the planning board backs the committee’s work.

“We’re hoping they will come up with something that we can present to the voters and get a vote on it,” she said.

“Ultimately it’s the town that has to concur, and that will be their decision.”

The Preserve West Tisbury committee meets next on Dec. 3 at 5 p.m. online. (https://www.westtisbury-ma.gov/preserve-west-tisbury-committee/events/45311)