Amid passionate statements about the urgent need to address the global climate crisis, the Martha’s Vineyard Commission voted unanimously Thursday night to approve a massive project to redevelop the Tisbury Marine Terminal as a maintenance staging area for the Vineyard Wind project.

The project is the largest waterfront development on the Vineyard in recent memory, and includes the creation of a new 40,000-square-foot pier deck and bulkhead on the Vineyard Haven harbor, three vessel berthing areas and more than 70,000 square feet of underwater dredging. Six new jobs will be created, with annual salaries ranging from $77,000 to $100,000, according to the application.

In an ongoing pattern, the two and a half-hour meeting Thursday led by MVC chairman Joan Malkin saw commissioners bog down heavily at times over procedural details.

But in the end, commissioners threw their strongest support to the marine terminal project, deciding that the benefits far outweighed the detriments.

During deliberations, they also acknowledged bluntly that the project will have a significant environmental impact on the Tisbury harborfront.

“Few projects we see have any benefits to the environment including this one,” commissioner Ben Robinson said. “It is a detriment — it’s going to be built over a barrier beach . . . we should just accept these detriments to the environment and weigh them against the benefit of this facility for the town.”

Commissioner Jim Vercruysse agreed. “The overall project may be a benefit, but I can’t see that dredging hundreds of feet of the ocean environment and cantilevering a pier out over the water is anything but a detriment,” he said.

But commissioner Kathy Newman urged a wider view.

“You have to remember the big environment” she said in part. “There are so many things to be gained from this . . . there are some problems but let’s not let the whole project be dragged down by it . . . it’s for the big environment and I think we have to put that into perspective.”

The development will expand and modify the R.M. Packer Company’s marine terminal at the far end of Beach Road in Vineyard Haven in two parts. The northern section of the property will remain part of the marine terminal barging operations. Improvements include a new pier and ramps, with a future plan to increase barging capacity. That part of the plan also won praise from commissioners Thursday.

The property’s undeveloped southern section will be rebuilt as a staging area for offshore wind farm maintenance, including the pier deck, vessel berths and a nearly 200-foot bulkhead that stretches into the harbor.

Ralph Packer, who owns the terminal, will lease the property to New Bedford-based Vineyard Wind, which is beginning construction on an 800-megawatt wind farm 15 miles south of the Island. The terms of the lease are not known.

The project is under review by the commission as a development of regional impact (DRI); a public hearing was held Sept. 23, with the written record closing Oct. 4. Numerous other permits are still needed at the state, federal and local level. A related project to build 50 units of workforce residential housing at the site of the former Hinckley’s property on Beach Road is expected to come before the commission at some point as a separate DRI.

Discussion was wide ranging Thursday night, as commissioners wrangled with language in conditions and debated how to apply their affordable housing policy to the project.

The project developers have made no affordable housing offer in their application, suggesting that the six workers will be earning salaries that will allow them to rent or buy market-rate housing.

Commission chairman Joan Malkin said at any rate the project doesn’t fit precisely with the MVC affordable housing policy for commercial development.

“We could do nothing, we could wait until the next DRI [for the workforce housing] comes along, or we could find some sort of rationale for collecting a fee. But we do not have a rationale for collecting a fee [with this project] under our current policy,” Ms. Malkin said.

Commissioner Linda Sibley underscored the dearth of housing in general on the Vineyard at the moment.

“There’s a lack of housing on the Vineyard, not just a lack of affordable housing . . . and that concerns me,” Ms. Sibley said.

The plan leaves room for a future expanded barging operation from the newly built terminal, including possibly for hauling solid waste from the Vineyard. But any such expansion would require a return to the MVC as well as a modification of a 2011 agreement between R.M. Packer and the Steamship Authority that spells out what materials can be barged from the private facility.

Commissioner Ted Rosbeck ultimately joined the unanimous vote in favor of the project, but aired his ambivalence more than once.

“Something about this project rubs me the wrong way,” Mr. Rosbeck said. “I’m not against Vineyard Wind, I think it’s all needed . . . I’m just a little shocked that it’s never come up that we’re just giving away the rights to this water . . . it just seems odd that it’s never discussed. If you look at this plan, the majority of it sits over water . . . I’m just stunned that we’re just giving that away . . . [and] that we’re not talking about that issue. “I wanted to raise it and see if I’m the only one in the room who thinks it’s crazy.”

Commissioner Josh Goldstein, the appointed voting member from Tisbury, said he had been asked by town leaders to convey their strong support.

“I was contacted by my appointing authority they want to convey how important this project is for the town,” Mr. Goldstein said. “They ask that you let other authorities do their work and keep it as clean and simple as we can.”

And despite its large scale, commissioners also expressly noted the project’s appropriateness for Vineyard Haven’s working waterfront.

“This is not going to be lovely but it is consistent with the working waterfront which is part of the character of the town of Tisbury,” commissioner Linda Sibley said. “This is probably the only place on this Island that could readily accommodate this facility.”

Mr. Robinson, a lifelong resident of the town, echoed the theme.

“I grew up on the harbor . . . it’s a working waterfront . . . and it dates to colonial times,” Mr. Robinson said. “The benefits of this working harbor [rival] the beauty of Edgartown.”

He also praised the town for its forward thinking approach in establishing the working waterfront many years ago through the commission’s district of critical planning concern (DCPC) process.

“Restrictions on the harborfront through the DCPC have been debated . . . and at the time [they were developed] no one could have contemplated offshore wind,” Mr. Robinson said.

“But if that had not been done, this might not have happened. The foresight of the town to protect the working waterfront has allowed this to happen. That foresight should be recognized.”