The developer of the old stone bank property in Vineyard Haven secured approvals this week for several changes he made without prior permission from the Martha’s Vineyard Commission, but not before receiving a dressing down from the regional board.

Several members of the commission chastised Reid “Sam” Dunn at their meeting Thursday for making alterations to the development at the former downtown bank site. The development is planned to include condominiums, commercial units and a restaurant.

Mr. Dunn had strayed away from plans approved by the commission going back to 2021. Infractions were connected to multiple buildings and included an unapproved outdoor staircase, unplanned skylights, changes to materials and design for doors, fencing and railings and differences in plans for a sidewalk.

The ramp at the Sea Bags building in Vineyard Haven was some of the modifications that had to be approved at the Martha's Vineyard Commission. — Ray Ewing

While most were deemed minor, commission member Peter Wharton said they start to add up.

“We’re faced with a million little bites that look like, frankly, a disregard for the process,” he said.

The commission oversees larger developments on the Island and chair Joan Malkin said that Mr. Dunn’s way of changing projects on-the-fly goes against the ways things are supposed to work.

“This has been very painful,” she said. “I do not want to be approving changes after they’re already done, Sam. That is disrespectful of our process.”

The commission also went back and forth on potential changes to fencing on the property, as well as a retaining wall and foundation for one building that didn’t follow the plans previously approved by the commission.

The fence was eventually not deemed an issue by the commission, but there are plans to undertake a study to see if the retaining wall and foundation could cause stormwater flow issues in the area. A further approval for the wall could be needed once the study is finished.

The building with the retaining wall was initially planned to be built on piers but was built using a solid concrete wall to insulate mechanical systems, officials said.

Thursday’s hearing was marked by frustration, with Mr. Dunn complaining about the commission’s process, some commissioners wishing Mr. Dunn would have stuck to the original plans and others members wondering why they were sweating small details on things such as trellises.

“A skylight? That’s not hurting anybody,” said member Trip Barnes.

Mr. Dunn said he is used to making changes for projects as they develop.

“I’m the architect, the builder and the developer…I have the freedom and the ability to make changes to things that I think need to be made in the project,” he said. “It’s just the way I do it – I’ve always done it. I’m sorry it causes these issues.”

While most matters were settled at the end of the meeting Thursday, Mr. Dunn still needs to come back to the commission for approvals for chimneys he altered. He also admitted to building the underpinnings of a deck for the taqueria portion of the development without a Tisbury building permit.

“That’s a whole ‘nother story,” Mr Dunn said.

An employee at the Tisbury building department declined to comment on the issue Friday.