MVC: Mill House, Flat Point Farm get approval

Edgartown subdivision gets hearing date.

The Martha's Vineyard Commission held a quick meeting Thursday night. — Brian Dowd

At a short meeting Thursday night, the Martha’s Vineyard Commission (MVC) gave final written approval for the controversial Mill House project.

The historic home, built in 1750, was demolished without being referred to the MVC for review, igniting anger from commissioners. The only part of the building remaining is the 19th century mill. After several meetings between the commission, and builder Peter Rosbeck and architect Patrick Ahearn, the parties reached an agreement to rebuild a house similar to what was there previously. Proposed plans for additional windows added to the mill were scrapped to preserve the structure.

Rosbeck, who demolished the building, offered to donate $25,000 to the MVC to allow them to create a database for the town of Tisbury, which would list all properties on the Massachusetts Historical Commission database, and properties more than 100 years old. 

At a contentious meeting in September, commissioners voted for the Mill House applicant to donate $75,000 to the Martha’s Vineyard Museum to finance research and exhibits regarding historical homes in Tisbury. 

At Thursday’s meeting, chairman Douglas Sederholm took a moment to reflect on the last meeting, which had commissioners yelling, arguing, and interrupting. “It was not our finest moment,” Sederholm said. “We all care about what we do … we take time out of our lives to do it, and we do it because we love this Island, and we don’t always agree, but, and I include myself in these remarks, I think we all should reflect on trying to disagree with civility and respect for each other’s thoughts.”

In other business, the commission swiftly approved plans to replace the Flat Point Farm barn that tragically burned down in a March fire, killing livestock and burning hay. Out of the tragedy came an outpouring of community support, including a Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society potluck and a GoFundMe campaign that raised more than $120,000.

Eleanor Neubert and her brother Arnie Fischer came before the commission to present their barn plans, which included no change of use. “We really appreciate your vote to allow us to go ahead with the building permit for this barn,” Fischer said.

MVC executive director Adam Turner set a Nov. 14 date for the 54-acre Meeting House Place subdivision project, which has repeatedly been moved due to quorum issues. The project recently went in front of the MVC’s Land Use Planning Committee, which recommended to the full commission that the project be denied



  1. Such a shame this debacle had to happen with one of the most historic houses in VH. Hopefully, next time when in doubt, seek out MVC. Still can’t understand how this happened with all the experienced professionals involved.

  2. Well Billy, it happened because these professionals have a lot of money and pull on the island and they wanted to do what they wanted to do…guess what, they got away with it.

  3. Look no further than the building department that issued the permits. First the bank roof, then this. What else is out there? I’m waiting to hear from a whistleblower.

  4. There is indeed a point when a building has been cut up and modified so much, along with the rot, decay that one should start over.

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