On Saturday the West Tisbury byways committee will present a brief history of the old dirt paths and cart tracks that today are protected special ways within the town. The event begins at 2 p.m. in the town library.


A historic mail route in West Tisbury has been set aside for special protection from future development. The Martha’s Vineyard Commission late last week agreed to add Old Coach Road to a growing group of historic Island footpaths protected under the special ways critical planning district.

The Martha’s Vineyard Commission has taken steps to preserve the historic character of several West Tisbury roadways. Commissioners voted to designate Pine Hill, Red Coat Hill, Mott’s Hill and Shubael Weeks roads as special ways, affording them protections against future development.


The recent decision by the Massachusetts Court of Appeals acknowledging the rights of the town of Edgartown and the Martha’s Vineyard Commission to restrict development on their ancient roadways gives credence to the residents of the Island who believe in preservation.

Protecting these old roads does much to retain the character of the Island, just as preserving historic buildings, retaining engaging vistas or saving unique parcels of land from development.

The town of Edgartown and the Martha’s Vineyard Commission won a major land use victory this week when the Massachusetts Court of Appeals ruled that they have wide latitude to restrict development on ancient ways. The ruling overturns an earlier superior court decision in the Hall family case against the town.


The Massachusetts Appeals Court has solidly backed the town of West Tisbury in its ongoing effort to keep Rogers Path, an ancient way that leads to a Civil War-era cemetery in the North Tisbury section of town, open for public use.