Across the Island but particularly in the down-Island towns, changing tastes and demands from owners of historic homes are increasingly butting up against rules designed to preserve the character of the Island.
In recent years, the Martha’s Vineyard Commission strengthened its oversight of century-old buildings that lie outside designated town historic districts — oversight that has been met with increasing resistance from some homeowners.
Depending on one’s perspective, the Island’s historic district commissions are the last stalwarts fighting to preserve the Vineyard’s eroding character or another bureaucratic hurdle for frustrated homeowners. 
The realities of maintaining the Vineyard’s often picturesque past have become increasingly complex, as voluntary boards grapple with insufficient resources and occasional resistance from homeowners who want amenities never imagined by their forebears.