The complex task of writing a master plan — a comprehensive planning document to guide the town through development, land use and other far-reaching decisions — is under way in Tisbury.

Operating without a plan, town government has produced a series of zoning bylaws that no longer match up with what’s happening in 21st-century Vineyard Haven, planning board member Cheryl Doble told the Gazette.

“We’re working with bylaws that were set at a different time,” Ms. Doble said.

“We’re now facing some very different challenges on a lot of fronts, the most obvious new one being climate change, but there are a lot of other things that have evolved over time,” she continued.

“Given the fact that we don’t have a master plan . . . we’ve made decisions not anticipating certain changes that would come. So the impact is huge on us as a town,” Ms. Doble said.

To begin developing the plan, the board has appointed a steering committee whose 12 members represent a range of Tisbury residents, from senior citizens to a student at the regional high school.

“We made a real effort to find [members] who represented the breadth of our community and the various groups that are in it,” said Ms. Doble, who sits on the new committee along with planning board chairman Ben Robinson.

That also meant seeking not only longtime residents but recent arrivals to town, Mr. Doyle said.

“We also have a member of the Brazilian community as well [who] will give us a sense of the different facets of that community, so we don’t approach them as a singular entity,” he said.

Mr. Robinson listed some of the questions that face the steering committee.

“How do we deal with housing? How do we deal with economic development? How do we deal with sea level rise? How do we deal with the pressure of being a global tourist economy?” Mr. Robinson said.

“These are all going to have to be put into the bowl and mixed around, and hopefully we’ll have some consensus,” he told the Gazette.

“It’s exciting, but it’s a real challenge.”

Steering committee members recently toured the business districts on Beach Road and State Road, Mr. Robinson said at Wednesday’s planning board meeting online. More tours may follow, he added.

“It sort of grounds people in what’s happening out there in town,” Mr. Robinson said at the meeting.

“It’s eye-opening to see those parts of town that you don’t normally see.”

Public participation is an essential part of the planning process, which is expected to take about 14 months, Judi Barrett, of Barrett Planning Group LLC, told the Gazette.

As the steering committee members buckle to their work this summer, her firm has begun gathering comment from seasonal and year-round residents at events like First Friday and a recent gathering at the senior center, she said.

Organized forums for public discussion and feedback will begin after the summer rush, Ms. Barrett said.

“While we’re trying to get the community informed and engaged, we’re also doing a lot of homework . . . to develop an understanding of where Tisbury is,” Ms. Barrett said.

“You don’t come in like a bull in a china shop,” she added. “Sometimes there are traditions deep and dear.”

The Tisbury master plan steering committee meets next on July 11 at 5:30 p.m. at the Martha’s Vineyard Museum.