It took 18 drafts, hundreds of hours of meetings and more than a year’s planning, but Tuesday night at the special town meeting, Tisbury residents voted into bylaw the first ever district of critical planning concern (DCPC) for Vineyard Haven harbor.

The Martha’s Vineyard Commission voted unanimously last week to accept a set of regulations for a new district of critical planning concern (DCPC) aimed at protecting the historic and environmental integrity of the Vineyard Haven harbor.

The special planning district is the first of its kind for a town harbor.

If the regulations are approved by voters at a special town meeting in October, they will become part of the town zoning bylaws. The regulations saw enthusiastic support from the public at a hearing last week.

After 14 revised drafts and nearly a year of public discussion, a final set of regulations aimed at protecting the historical and ecological character of Vineyard Haven harbor is on the verge of completion.

A final draft of regulations was still in the works Monday evening for the Vineyard Haven Harbor District of Critical Planning Concern (DCPC), which will be presented to the Martha’s Vineyard Commission Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at the Oak Bluffs office.

Loosening restrictions on land while tightening them on the water sparked considerable discussion at the Tisbury board of selectman meeting on Tuesday.

Sixteen proposed harbor regulations restricting when, where and how boats operate in Vineyard Haven harbor were debated during the public hearing.

A regulation stating “all commercial ferries shall operate within hours compliant to noise regulations” drew pointed comments from selectman Tristan Israel on the Steamship Authority’s adherence to harbor restrictions.


Three Island towns awake this morning under the umbrella of permit moratoriums following last night’s meeting of the Martha’s Vineyard Commission.

The commission opened its regular meeting by approving a nomination for a district of critical planning concern in the Vineyard Haven harbor. The vote was unanimous and followed a public hearing which was held prior to the opening of the commission meeting. Only one member of the public was heard in the hearing.

In an effort to regain control of their waterfront, Tisbury selectmen voted Tuesday evening to nominate Vineyard Haven harbor as a district of critical planning concern. The nomination will be considered by the Martha’s Vineyard Commission.