Historic Tisbury building to receive restoration work 

The building will make its move down Lagoon Pond Road.

The old building at Safe Harbor Marina will be moved for restoration work. —Eunki Seonwoo

What was once a historic church in Tisbury will be undergoing some restoration work and a change of scenery. 

The Tisbury Select Board unanimously approved a request to move what has become a boatbuilding shop at Safe Harbor Marina during a hearing last week.

Jefrey DuBard, who owns 51 Lagoon Pond Road, and whose architectural firm will be restoring the building, says the North Tisbury Church dates back to the 1800s. The structure was later bought in 1940 by Island boatbuilder Erford Burt.

DuBard told The Times that Safe Harbor Marina was considering demolishing the building before the current plan took form. “This is not complicated, and we’re doing everything by the book,” DuBard said. “They just need to get it out of there.” 

According to Tisbury town administrator John Grande, the Tisbury planning board recommended the project proponents be allowed to move the building and find a place to restore it. Grande said the select board’s approval would be needed to get the moving process started.

At Wednesday’s hearing, Steven Guard, the attorney representing Safe Harbor Marina, requested a license lasting 30 to 60 days to move the building from 100 Lagoon Pond Road to 51 Lagoon Pond Road. The Tisbury Department of Public Works director, Kirk Metell, would be the one to decide when the roads would be closed for the building’s move. 

“Obviously, we don’t want to interfere with the [Beach Road Weekend] event that’s going on, and whatnot, so we would be working around that in conjunction with that department,” Guard said, adding that a building permit won’t be needed, since the building is being moved for storage and restoration, not for occupancy or expansion. Guard later added that once the building has been placed in the storage location, the applicants will need to go to the Martha’s Vineyard Commission before going to other Tisbury town boards again for an actual building permit. 

Planning board chair Ben Robinson said there might be other issues to discuss after the building had been moved, but the move itself was not a problem. 

When select board member John Cahill asked why not just move the building after all of the approval has been completed, Guard pointed out that the planning board already gave its blessings, and that moving a building like this before permitting was completed was not unheard-of. 

“This is a building that has no ability to be occupied,” Guard said. “It has no electricity, no water, no plumbing, no nothing. It is essentially storage of building materials during the time it would be permitted.” 

After further discussion, the board unanimously approved the building to be moved within the next 60 days, as long as it does not interfere with the upcoming Beach Road Weekend music festival, or with directions from Metell.


  1. What is intresting is on the old Hinkley Lumber site was a historic building, seen in a few pictures (100 yrs old) when Bass Creek was a creek and not Lagoon Rd/Water St. Not a peep was heard pro or con.!
    Was anyone notified? MVC, Tisbury Historical Committee, Does anyone care?
    Now we have a huge concrete (Fema approved) building.

    This street scape is changing and I doubt it will be appealing enough for tourist to want to stop for the experience in our town.

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