The Vineyard Gazette – Martha’s Vineyard News


A long-planned affordable housing project at Peaked Hill Pastures in Chilmark took a step forward this week when the town’s selection board considered a recommendation from the planning council to develop part of the property into community housing.

A subcommittee of the planning council has been gathering community feedback and exploring concepts for the city-owned 16-acre parcel for several months. A series of six community engagement sessions took place over the summer and early fall.

In the report dated Nov. 22 and released this week, the committee recommends that six acres of the property be developed with about 20 housing units, mostly rental and a smaller number of owned units.

The project would be designed as a community neighborhood with shared infrastructure, an energy-efficient building and multi-generational residents.

Some preference would be given to city employees, and the project would serve people earning up to 150% of the region’s median income, with some units reserved for people earning 80% of the AMI or less. (In Dukes County, the AMI for a household of four is $105,000).

Funding would come from the state, the Community Preservation Act and the Molly Flender Fund, the city’s affordable housing trust, according to the report.

The report recommends that all units be developed at once using a so-called friendly 40-B under state law that allows affordable housing projects to circumvent certain zoning regulations.

The Flanders Field softball field would be preserved and the remaining 10 acres would be left open with the potential for future recreation or open space projects, according to the report.

“The need for affordable/community housing for all income levels is urgent across the island. We believe that Chilmark must play a role in meeting this need in addition to providing opportunities for Chilmark residents,” the report states. “We want the project to benefit many individuals and families while balancing and respecting the character of the city.”

The report recommends that the select board solicit bids from developers by issuing a request for proposals (RFP).

On Tuesday, board members welcomed the report and said they would discuss next steps at their Dec. 14 meeting.

“It’s one of the biggest things we’ve worked on, and I think it’s very important for our city to make it work and make it work successfully for as many people involved as possible,” coach James Malkin said.

“We have a lot on the table and the sub-committee has done a wonderful job of defining things,” coach Warren Doty said. “We are each going to research and work on things. . . and don’t define next steps until our next meeting. »

In a case unrelated to housing and zoning, council suggested adding an opt-out provision to a proposed amendment to loosen restrictions on undersized residential lots. The amendment still needs to be approved at the annual municipal meeting in April.

“Thank you for the work of the planning board and yes we are supportive of this, and please make it happen,” Mr Malkin said.

In other cases, the council agreed to allow the harbor master’s staff to take on more watchdog duties at Menemsha during the summer months. New responsibilities will include directing traffic and maintaining toilet blocks.

The idea was presented at a meeting last month to transfer traffic warden responsibilities to the police department. The plan would eliminate traffic wardens, who are in short supply, harbor master Ryan Rossi said.

“It’s not about enforcing the laws,” he said last month. “It’s more a matter of traffic flow and safety.”

The board also voted for:

• Join a statewide opioid settlement case;

• Adopt changes to the job description for the position of municipal treasurer;

• Reappoint Joan Malkin as the town’s representative on the Martha’s Vineyard Commission.


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