Martha's Vineyard Commission

Permeable Reactive Barrier Grant Received

The MVC has received a $250,000 grant from the Southeast New England Program (SNEP) from the Environmental Protection Agency to install a permeable reactive barrier (PRB) in Lagoon Pond. The grant will permit the micro-site, install and monitor of an innovative new technology, which will reduce nitrogen in the groundwater before that groundwater reaches the pond. 

The Towns of Tisbury and Oak Bluffs, in collaboration with the MVC, have historically and successfully worked together to identify and address the degradation of their coastal embayments. Lagoon Pond has been studied extensively over the years. The Towns are committed to use various alternative methods to improve the water quality of the ponds.

PRBs have the promise to remove watershed nitrogen loadings in a cost-effective manner, and achieve water quality restoration within a relatively short amount of time.

From left to right: Gail Barmakian (Oak Bluffs), Bill Keating (State Congressman), Adam Turner (MVC Executive Director), Brian Howes (SMAST), Melinda Loberg (Tisbury), and Sheri Caseau (MVC Water Resources Planner) at the Annoucement Event in Buzzards Bay on September 24.

lcm 10/5/18

The MVC's new sUAS (small Unmanned Aerial System)

The MVC now utilizes a drone to acquire video and photographs to assist any of Dukes County's Town Departments, Boards and Committees with their planning efforts. The aerial flights are also conducted to assist the MVC's regulatory review of DRIs (Developments of Regional Impact). To request a flight service, contact Chris Seidel to discuss the project. The MVC will also provide this service for environmental non-profit conservation groups, as well as regional citizen environmental protection groups in Dukes County. The MVC will not fly for legal firms, real estate agencies, other commercial entities, or private individuals. For more details and FAQs, please see our Drone page.

lcm 10/5/18

Mark London 1947-2018

A statement by Adam Turner, current Martha's Vineyard Commission Executive Director: 

Mark London preceeded me as the Executive Director where he resided from October 2002 to his retirement in August 2015. He was the Executive Director here for 13 years, making him the longest consecutive director of this organization.

He had many notable successes, including the development and adoption of the Island Plan, development and construction of the roundabout and the drawbridge, development of Commission policies on Open Space, Built Environment, and many others.

Prior to becoming the Director here, Mark was the Director of Heritage Montreal, and following that Mark was an urban planner for the city of Montreal for 15 years. He worked on significant projects there as well, including developing the first Master Plan for Montreal, transforming the former Expo '67 site into the largest city park, rehabilitating the Frederick Law Olmstead-designed Mount Royal Park, and redeveloping the Lachine Canal. His professional career was extensive.

When I think of Mark, I think of passion. Whether it was early in the morning or late at night, he was considering ways to make this place better. He always joked about how relieved he was to not have the headaches of being involved in running this group, but it was clear that he wished he was. I would see him in Chilmark and he always had knowledge and viewpoints of what issues we were facing.

He was very generous to me, and I will miss him. The last time we met, we laid out a process of completing surveys for historic properties throughout the Island. This summer we began this process on East Chop and Chappaquiddick. It never occured to me that he would not be a part of completing this project. He was the architect of it. Maybe I didn't grasp the gravity of his health issues. Moving forward without him will occur, but it will be slower and less focused. We are diminished by his passing.

Mark was a Canadian, more specifically a Montrealer. He had a dry sense of humor, but he had a great understanding of things even if he didn't agree with them. He commented on how ironic it was that he became an American citizen and the first leader elected while he was a US citizen was one who opposed nearly everything he stood for, and almost declared war on his home country. While Mark became a citizen of the US, he never stopped being Canadian.

Mark was someone who you could count on. He was also someone who, to his detriment at times, was fearless. He was going to offer his views regardless of who was listening and whether or not they agreed. Mark was true to himself and true to this Commission.

I always felt like Mark was one of those people that delivered more than what we expected or what had been promised. Julius Erving, the basketball player, once said that "being a professional is doing the things you love to do, on the days you don't feel like doing them." I don't know if Mark ever felt like not doing them.

Mark's obituary can be found here:

Permanent Traffic Counters

The MVC has selected TrafInfo Communications, Inc (TrafInfo) to design and install automated permanent traffic counters at six locations across the island.

lcm 9/21/18

Dog, Deer, & Lone Star Tick Maps

Dick Johnson has released the latest series of Tick Maps for Martha's Vineyard (cartography by MVC's Chris Seidel).  Mr. Johnson has been collecting tick samples across the Island since 2011.  The maps show the distribution of dog, deer, and Lone Star ticks.  For more information, read the current article in the Vineyard Gazette.

cls 7/13/18

Tisbury Shared Use Path

On June 28, 2018 the MVC held a planning meeting in Tisbury to present the proposed plans for a bicycle/pedestrian path from 5 Corners to connect to the path beyond Winds Up. The following powerpoint presentation was used to illustrate the plans' history, its scope, the features and its impact. 


lcm 7/2/18

Explore the Vineyard – Get the App - TrailsMV

Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation has spearheaded the production of a smartphone app, TrailsMV.  The app allows you to view all the Vineyard’s trails and conservation lands on your phone.  See where you are on the trail as you walk the properties.  Plan a longer route by seeing how one trail network links to another.  The app is FREE for download from the App Store.  A version for Android will be arriving later in 2018.  This project was a collaborative effort of all the Vineyard's conservation groups (DCR, Mass Audubon, MVLB, Polly Hill Arboretum, TNC, TTOR, VCS, Vineyard Open Land Foundation) and the MVC.

cls 6/22/18

Statistical Profile

The MVC is in the process of compiling data for a comprehensive Island Statistical Profile. The MVC has a long standing history of collecting Island data, and is now looking to convey that information in a helpful manner. The Statistical Profile will encompass demographic, economic, environmental, social, and cultural information to be used in long-term planning and trend analysis. Once complete, the Profile will be made available to Towns and interested members of the public. The Profile will have a myriad of practical functions such as assistance with grant applications and potential zoning bylaw amendments; as well as helping to guide the ongoing evolution of Martha’s Vineyard so it can best meet the needs of residents and others.

lcm 4/26/2018


Water Quality Testing Results

​For several years, the MVC has collaborated with the University of Massachusetts Darmouth (SMAST) to conduct Island-wide Water Quality Monitoring. This has enabled us to unify pond monitoring under one umbrella so that data is consistently collected and analyzed year to year to ensure cross comparibility and assure quality of the results.

Each year, multiple location testing is conducted in the Island ponds. Samples are collected for depth, water clarity, water temperature, salinity, and amounts of nitrogen and other compounds. These samples are sent off-island for processing and results are aggregated and stored by pond. This study reviews the results of the testing, and compares the current testing (2017) to previous years so trends can be evaluated.

This studies provides critical regionalized data to assist the MVC and the Towns of Martha's Vineyard as they move forward with implementation of nutrient management strategies related to implementation of mitigation techniques guided by the Massachusetts Estuaries Project (MEP), as well as associated nutrient TMDLs developed and issued by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). The value of unified and consistent water quality testing/monitoring Island-wide is further increased as the Towns of Martha's Vineyard face post-compliance monitoring requirements associated with nutrient management and meeting estuarine specific TMDLs.

Nutrient over-enrichment is the major ecological threat to water quality in the salt ponds and embayments across the Island of Martha's Vineyard, primarily via the ecological degradation due to excess nutrients. Degradation of the ponds is a direct threat to the Island's social, environmental, and economic health. A copy of the report can be found here.

lcm 04/12/2018

Vineyard Wind under review by BOEM

​BOEM (Bureau of Ocean Energy Management) is scoping its Impact Statement on Vineyard Wind's Construction and Operations Plan.  This is a chance to comment on what needs to be addressed in the Impact Statement.  MVC and local boards will review for approval the transmission line and any onshore facilities, but most of the project lies beyond the 3-mile limit of MVC's and the towns' jurisdiction.  This comment period is a chance to be heard by BOEM; the primary chance for the offshore parts of the plan.  Comments will be received until April 30.  Here is a link to BOEM's page on the project.  There is much information about the project and about the review underway. 

BOEM will hold a scoping session here as follows:

Tuesday, April 17, 2018
Martha’s Vineyard Hebrew Center
130 Center Street, Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts 02568
Open House 5:00-8:00 p.m.
Presentation and Q&A 6:00 p.m.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            jat 4/4/18

The MVC is involved in several environmental issues

Correspondence was sent to Governor Baker about the Department of the Interior's proposed Five-Year Offshore Drilling Plan.

The Offshore Drilling Plan could potentially open the Atlantic coastline to drilling. The MVC has asked the Governor to formally oppose the plan as proposed, and to do everything in his power to prevent the offshore drilling, including removing Massachusetts from the plan entirely. A copy of the letter can be found here.

Correspondence was also sent to Clayton Edwards, from the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources, regarding the use of herbicides on the Eversouce right of way corridors.

The MVC feels that the Eversource Vegetation Management Plan does not adequately inform or protect the public, and it allows the application of potentially dangerous herbicides along the power line right of ways in Edgartown, Oak Bluffs and Tisbury. The MVC is hoping to facilitate that a regular meeting be held each year the power company intends to apply herbicides to ensure that the public is informed and protected. A copy of the letter can be found here.

For more information about either of these topics, feel free to reach out to Lucy Morrison or Adam Turner.

lcm 03/30/2018

​How to Read Flood and Storm Surge Maps

Flood and Storm hazard maps may be confusing.  There are storm surge maps of inundation from the dangerous surge of rising hurricane waters.  There are flood maps for a nor'easter type of storm.  FEMA produces the flood maps to determine rates for its federally-subsidized flood insurance policies.  Towns (except for Chilmark) use the maps in floodplain regulations to keep the subsidies available.

 Here is a handy 2-sided guide to reading each type of map.                                           ​jat 3/23/18 

RFP for Site Suitability Tool for Affordable Housing

The Martha’s Vineyard Commission is seeking to contract with a software developer possessing experience working with municipalities or government entities to develop a user-friendly, web-based, site suitability tool to identify optimal sites for affordable housing development.  All responses are due no later than April 23, 2018.  Please see the Request for Proposal in its entirety.

lcm 03/19/2018

Greening Your Community: Cost-Effective Low Impact Development Solutions

Mass Audubon recently published several fact sheets to help fast developing communities chart a more sustainable future.

#1 Preserving Natural Resources with Nature Based Solutions delves into land use planning and cost-effective solutions to protect land and water.

#2 Conservation Design focuses on balancing growth and character and includes examples from New England communities.

#3 Low Impact Development Best Management Practices provides a list of tools like green rooves, rain barrels, rain gardens, permeable pavement and stormwater wetlands.

#4 Local Zoning and Regulations describes how designing regulations to reflect priorities and planning ahead can shape the future of the community.

#5 Urban Water Quality Improvements focuses on impaired waters and remediation techniques, such as hydrodynamic separators, deep sump catch basins and gravel wetlands.

lcm 10/05/17

Another Successful Living Local

As a proud sponsor, MVC was a part of yet another successful Living Local on Saturday, September 23.  Still growing, the event drew 2500 this year.  MVC staff Sheri Caseau, Bill Veno and Jo-Ann Taylor presented displays on the planning efforts of the Commission and were rewarded with considerable helpful feedback.  We were happy to have several Commissioners stop by and visit.  Thank you, Joan Malkin and Richard Toole!


​jat 9/26/17 

Herbicide Spraying

The MVC has been working with Towns and others to investigate the permitting and spraying of herbicides on the island. This year Eversource plans to apply herbicides along the electric right-of-ways in Tisbury, Oak Bluffs and Edgartown. The MVC has corresponded with both Eversource on April 19th and the Department of Agricultural Resources (the State department in charge of approving herbicide applications) on May 16th, June 20th, and July 10th on these issues, and requesting more research on the spraying, given the island’s shallow aquifer and unique State forest. Alternatives are available, including strictly mechanical means of removing the necessary vegetation. Information is found in the following links:

For more information, please contact Executive Director, Adam Turner his assistant Lucy Morrison.

lcm 9/20/17

New Building Code Effective Soon

The Ninth Massachusetts Building Code (780 CMR) will become effective soon (August or September date to be announced).  A period of concurrency will follow, when 8th or 9th Code rules may be applied.  From January 1, 2018 onward, all building must comply with the 9th Code.

The updated code will include significant differences in flood elevation rules and considerations for high wind areas, among others of particular interest here on Martha's Vineyard.  Home and business owners and their consultants should take note.  Town review boards and agents should take note.

Click Here  for a summary of the changes.                           

jat 7/25/17

New DRI Checklist and Referral Form

The MVC updated the DRI Checklist with input from towns last summer. The changes were submitted to the State and approved at the end of January. The latest DRI Checklist went into effect on April 15, 2017.

DRI Checklist (Version 13)

DRI Referral Form

Summary of Changes

lcm 5/23/2017 

Housing Production Plans - Draft Reports Released

A Housing Production Plan (HPP) is a proactive strategy for planning and developing moderate and community housing that meets the 10% Chapter 40B State Housing Inventory (SHI) target per Massachusetts Housing and Community Development (DHCD) guidelines. HPPs that are certified by the DHCD help towns meet their moderate housing goals.

The Martha's Vineyard All Island Planning Board (AIPB) established a Housing Work Group consisting of one representative from each town planning board. Jennifer Goldson and Judi Barrett have been hired to help the Working Group and provide professional planning services to organize and facilitate the HPP process. The Work Group is coordinating the planning process and has created a forum to identify common interests or problems, exchange ideas, develop Island-wide solutions and keep the AIPB and public apprised of their progress. Out of this collaboration, each town has been tasked with creating its own HPP to meet the affordable and workforce housing needs.

Beginning in September of 2016 and through the fall and early winter, a series of 3 HPP meetings were held in each town and an online housing survey was available for residents to provide their feedback regarding housing on the Vineyard.

The consultants have released the Draft Housing Production Plans for each Island town and an Island-wide version.  Click the respective link below to view the Draft HPP plans.

Aquinnah   Chilmark   Edgartown   Oak Bluffs   Tisbury   West Tisbury   Island-Wide Executive Summary

To view all meeting materials click here.  Click here to visit the Housing Production Plan webpage.

cls 2/1/2017

Transportation Plans Available

The Martha's Vineyard Joint Transportation Committee has recently adopted a new Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP) and Transportation Improvement Program (TIP).  These documents outline the Island's goals, budgets and projects regarding transportation for the next four years.

For further information, go to this web page.



Office location:

Office location:

The Stone Building
33 New York Avenue
Oak Bluffs, MA 02557

Telephone: 508-693-3453
Fax: 508-693-7894

Mailing Address

Mailing address:

Martha's Vineyard Commission
P.O. Box 1447
Oak Bluffs, MA 02557

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