A cell tower expansion in West Tisbury got a provisional green light from the Martha’s Vineyard Commission last week after a lengthy public hearing process.

The MVC voted 10-1 Thursday night to allow a 15-foot extension onto an existing camouflaged tower located off New Lane in West Tisbury. The addition to the pole is intended to expand AT&T coverage in the surrounding area, including for emergency responders.

The project was reviewed by the commission as a development of regional impact (DRI) beginning in October. Over the course of several public hearings commissioners debated the details, including environmental impacts from the existing monopine pole, whose top is camouflaged with an artificial pine tree, intended to minimize visual impacts.

The existing 65-foot tower was approved by the commission and the West Tisbury zoning board of appeals in 2013. The expansion will co-locate new AT&T equipment at the tower, including various conduits and a diesel generator.

The changes will extend the tower about 15 feet, with a new height of 80 feet, including the artificial tree branches.

During the MVC review, which included a site visit, there was extensive discussion and back-and-forth with the applicant, Centerline Communications, about the fact that the monopine has been shedding a significant number of plastic “needles” onto the ground over the years. Commissioners looked askance at the plastic debris that had been allowed to accumulate in the area around the tower. And they debated at length whether to require the tower owner, American Tower, to remove the monopine altogether, or leave that decision to the West Tisbury zoning board of appeals, as had been the case with the original tower.

Debate continued during deliberations Thursday night. Commissioner Fred Hancock said the rural surround, which includes the Tisbury Great Pond, is vulnerable to visual intrusion. But he said when it comes to a plastic tree versus a plain cell tower, the town should decide what’s best.

“One of the things we are charged with doing is to conserve the natural beauty of the Island, “ Mr. Hancock said. “It doesn’t show that we have much respect for the town of West Tisbury that [in a decision] we previously left to them . . . to say, we don’t think you can handle this.”

Commissioner Doug Sederholm agreed. “We should leave it to the town to decide whether there is a monopine . . . the visual impact is mostly in West Tisbury. We let them do it before, there’s no reason we shouldn’t do it now.”

The approval includes conditions, and is still subject to final approval of the written decision by the commission in early January.

In other business Thursday, commissioners voted to adopt an updated agreement with the Martha’s Vineyard Airport Commission that spells out responsibilities for reviewing developments in the airport business park. The original agreement dates to 1993 when the business park was first developed, and has been updated at least once since then. Among other things, the agreement sets thresholds for sending commercial projects to the MVC for review, given the airport commission’s own rigorous review process.

Mr. Hancock led the review and update project for the commission. Airport director Geoffrey Freeman and operations manager Kevin Brennan both praised Mr. Hancock and the commission for what they said was a thorough, collaborative process.

The commission also voted to re-elect officers for the coming year. Commissioner Joan Malkin will serve another term as chairman, along with Jim Vercruysse as vice chairman and Ernie Thomas as clerk.