Chilmark sets Middle Line Road lottery for Jan. 19

Chilmark selectmen have set January 19 for a lottery to award six affordable homesites in the Middle Line Road housing project. There are 14 qualified applicants for the one-acre lots, but six have a definite leg up under a system that provides preference for Chilmarkers.

The Middle Line Road project includes six rental units built and owned by the town, and six single family houses, owned by lottery winners who will be responsible for planning and building their own homes. A plan currently under consideration would require each lot recipient to pay the town $20,000 to cover its costs.

The project is located on 21 acres of heavily wooded town-owned land located about a half mile down Middle Line Road, a dirt road that intersects with Tabor House Road near the town landfill.

The leasehold lots of approximately one acre each on the 21-acre site will be available as 99-year land leases and require payment of a one-time $20,000 leasehold fee, payable at the time a building permit is issued. Leaseholders have up to one year from date of the leasehold to obtain a building permit, Andy Goldman, chairman of the Chilmark housing committee, said this week.

Heirs of leaseholders will be able to inherit the leasehold for its remaining term if they meet income guideline criteria, currently 150 per cent of Dukes county median income, which was $57,553 for the average family in 2007.

Final technical language relating to the leasehold agreement is being worked on, Mr. Goldman said. He said his committee and selectmen have agreed on the basic terms of the leasehold agreement and hope to have final language in place by the lottery date or shortly thereafter. The agreement is based on the Dukes County affordable housing model with some modification in terms and to account for specific agreements with related road and homeowner associations, he said.

Mr. Goldman said the leasehold arrangement provides that the land remains in the affordable pool in perpetuity. “We want to protect future affordability. This assures our social purposes. We’ve seen examples of affordable housing that has leaked out of the pool,” he said.

Town government a hundred years hence will have the ability to decide on the best use at that time, including extending the leasehold, he said.