Six Chilmark affordable homesites up for grabs

Fourteen candidates will compete for six affordable homesite lots in Chilmark’s Middle Line Road development. The competition occurs in a complicated lottery based on income and preference, to be conducted in Chilmark on Tuesday.

Six of the contestants are preferred – that is, people who live, work, or have volunteered in town. The remaining eight are Island residents who also meet affordable housing criteria, including an annual family income of less than 150 percent of area median Dukes County income.

Each successful candidate will receive a 99-year lease on one of the six lots. The Martha’s Vineyard Commission (MVC), which has jurisdiction over this affordable housing plan, requires that two lots, one third of the total, be awarded to persons who earn less than 100 percent of the AMI, regardless of preferred status. That requirement has opened the lottery to both preferred and non-preferred candidates.

“It is a fairly complicated procedure, but it is necessary to meet the guidelines (for affordable housing),” J.B. Riggs Parker, chairman of the Chilmark selectmen, said this week of the lottery plan.

The 7:30 pm January 19 meeting will begin by awarding rights to a homesite to the only applicant who is both a preferred candidate and earns less than 100 per cent of AMI. Then, five applicants who are not preferred candidates, but earn less than 100 per cent AMI, will draw for another lot.

The remaining four lots will be awarded by lottery from the remaining pool of five preferred candidates. The fifth preferred candidate will become the first alternate and the remaining seven non-preferred candidates will draw to determine their ranking as alternates, according to Mr. Parker.

The Middle Line Road project includes six rental units to be built and owned by the town, as well as the six single-family houses built on the lots awarded by lottery. Each lot recipient must pay the town $20,000 to cover its costs.