To the Editor:
There is a serene easiness amongst the recently completed cluster of homes at Eliakim’s Way in West Tisbury. Neighborly introductions have been made, the hammocks are hung, and the community of new homeowners is planning its future. At a recent homeowners association meeting/potluck dinner, the first orders of business were reviewed. A shared garden, community compost, and landscape plans were discussed among neighbors. It was also decided that a formal gesture of gratitude was in order to all parties involved in making this project happen.
First, a bit of praise and reflection to help orient those that are unfamiliar with Eliakim’s Way. A series of eight homes, formerly referred to as 250 State Road, were designed and built as part of the Island Housing Trust’s efforts to provide affordable housing to the year-round community. Set amongst the bucolic farms and trails of West Tisbury, a parcel was developed with an insightful approach to land planning. Two- and three-bedroom homes were grouped tightly around a shared commons leaving the remaining landscape in a perpetual state of conservation.
The generosity of West Tisbury, the clever design-build strategies of both South Mountain Company and Habitat for Humanity, and the diligent efforts of the Island Affordable Housing Trust have culminated in setting a new standard for progressive housing on Martha’s Vineyard.
With 10-inch thick, super-insulated walls and triple glazed windows, our homes are tight and temperate. Their solar orientation and thoughtful design offer an appropriate response to the sun and wind. The prevalence of non-toxic, low-maintenance, and local materials highlight a sense of care and thought for the long-term health, the well-being of residents and the planet. Each of our homes is equipped with a grid-tied 5-kw photovoltaic array to provide sufficient electricity for heat, hot water, cooking, and power in the homes. These systems were designed to fully offset the conventional reliance on fossil fuels for these needs.
The project has been recognized by the US Green Building Council as a LEED Platinum project, meeting their highest standards for sustainable design criteria. In an effort to learn from our experience as residents, South Mountain Company is compiling the energy data from each house for the first year of occupation. They have also posed a challenge for net-zero energy use over the course of the first year, with a CSA Farm Share prize as an added incentive for living lightly.
Our neighborhood is a setting for dignified living and an unparalleled opportunity for home ownership. For some, it will be a place to raise the next generation of Island residents. We take pride in place, aiming to live according to the same enlightened ideals that make this place exemplary. The town of West Tisbury has promoted a model of progressive social and environmental design, making way for the lives of our year-round residents while preserving land and fostering stewardship. The Island has an ally in the residents of Eliakim’s Way.
From our new community to all those involved, we offer our deepest gratitude and respect. For your insight, care, and dedication, you are to be commended. Thank you.
The Eliakim’s CommunityWest Tisbury