Four new lease lots will be added to the airport business park after an expansion plan cleared approvals with the Martha’s Vineyard Commission last week.

Situated around the perimeter of the light industrial section of the business park off Barnes Road, the four undeveloped lots include one that was the former site of a World War II bunker, according to MVC documents.

There is strong demand and a waiting list for leased space at the business park, which is controlled by the airport commission. The park houses an array of Island-based businesses including a gas station, a car repair shop, landscaping, construction and telecommunications satellites. A branch office of the state Registry of Motor Vehicles is located in the park, along with headquarters for the Vineyard Transit Authority.

The four-lot expansion plan has been under review by the commission as a development of regional impact (DRI) since July, when a public hearing opened. The commission’s land use planning committee met a month later and voted to recommend that the project be approved with conditions.

The original business park plan was approved by the commission as a DRI in 1993.

Deliberations and a vote on the expansion were held last Thursday night.

The plan ultimately won unanimous approval, but not before commissioners went down a number of side alleys as they grappled with the details associated with conditions, including vegetative buffers in the area and an apparent conflict with Edgartown zoning bylaws. Town bylaws dictate a 200-foot buffer zone, but the actual buffer is 140 feet. After much debate, commissioners came to the conclusion it was not their problem to solve, and agreed to simply make note of it in the written decision.

The expansion will increase water use at the park, and it was clarified that the business park is tied into the Oak Bluffs town water system. The airport has its own package wastewater treatment system and is in the early permitting stages of expanding the system.

Commissioner Trip Barnes noted that the business park is one of the last remaining areas on the Island where commercial expansion is allowed.

Other conditions of approval will require the airport to provide an updated map of the business park, clearing delineating the lease lots.

There was strong support for the project among commissioners. But before the final vote Thursday, they also found themselves suddenly in a soul-searching moment, sparked by commissioner Ben Robinson, who outlined the bigger picture of increasing development on an Island with finite resources.

“I think we just have to recognize what we’re doing here,” Mr. Robinson began. “As Trip said, this is the last area to be expanded for commercial uses. There is demand, [the lease lots] are going to be immediately filled . . . and that is part of a development pattern around the Island. I just feel we shouldn’t gloss over it and say ho hum . . .” He continued: I’m going to vote for this because of the need today for these services to be provided on this Island. But we need to recognize that we are on the continual march forward toward [saying] yep, services are needed, let’s just keep opening up new land for it. Because the land is going to run out. And I think we need to recognize that at this point in time.”

Commissioner Linda Sibley agreed.

“I did say earlier I thought we should approve this in spite of the fact that it will use more water, because otherwise we are saying . . . there shall be no development on the Vineyard,” Ms Sibley said. “[Development is] going to happen, it’s going to use water and it’s going to stress our wastewater treatment. So we have to prioritize. And I think that’s what chapter 831 [the MVC enabling legislation] wants us to do . . . say yes to the developments that are overall beneficial to the residents of the Vineyard. And I think this is one of those.”

Commissioner Josh Goldstein had a different take.

“If this board is going to say that all development is a detriment, we need to come out to the general public and let them know that the bar has risen,” he said. “We need to be careful where we’re going.”