A District of Critical Planning Concern (DCPC) is a special area on Martha's Vineyard. It is an area that is important to more than one town on the Island or to the Island as a whole. Because of the importance of these areas, they require special regulations to guide the type and manner of development that may occur.

Development in many of the most significant and beloved parts of the Vineyard has been strictly controlled as a result of the creation of DCPCs. When the Commission was new, a large number of nominations were made for DCPCs. From thoughtful consideration of those initial requests, the early Commissioners crafted the three Island-wide DCPCs that still form the framework of the Commission's DCPC protection. The Coastal District, Island Roads District and Special Places District protect the Island's most sensitive areas from inappropriate development. The designated DCPCs include the original three Island-wide Districts; Districts protecting various ponds, harbors and other special areas; and a District protecting the entire Town of Aquinnah.

There are eight types of District, described in the DCPC Qualifications section:
  • Drinking Water Resource District,
  • Fishing Resource District,
  • Farming Resource District,
  • Wildlife, Natural, Scientific or Ecological Resource District,
  • Cultural or Historic Resource District,
  • Economic or Development Resource District,
  • Major Public Investment District,
  • Hazardous District.
This section of the website is made up of the following sections.
  • DCPC Designation Process - Step-by-Step:  This section outlines the steps that are followed in designating a DCPC.
  • DCPC Qualifications: This section defines the types of areas that can be nominated and designated and outlines the criteria that the Commission uses to determine whether a district qualifies as a DCPC.
  • DCPC Moratorium: This section describes the moratorium that goes into effect as part of the DCPC designation process and how exemptions may be granted from the moratorium.
  • Decisions: This link lists all DCPC Decisions.


Dan Doyle, Special Projects Planner
(508) 693-3454 x121
[email protected]


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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