West Tisbury selectmen sign off on affordable housing leases


The West Tisbury selectmen unanimously approved two 99-year ground leases held by the Island Housing Trust (IHT) and the buyers of two new income-restricted houses on Dr. Fisher Road.

Covenants on the two properties were granted the town as a condition of special zoning permits that allowed the construction of three houses on a three-acre lot zoned for one house.

Jim Feiner, a realtor, and Nicky Patton built the houses. IHT executive director Philippe Jordi told selectmen the houses are the first to be constructed by private developers, under a town ordinance passed almost 10 years ago to encourage affordable housing. One of the houses was bought by Erica and Owen Maloney, the other by Patti Roads.

In other business at their meeting Wednesday, July 24, selectmen approved a regulatory agreement between the town, the IHT, and the Dukes County Housing Authority to allow work to proceed on three more affordable apartments, an addition to the four existing apartments at the Sepiessa Point Apartments off Clam Point Road, which are owned and managed by the Dukes County Housing Authority. Plans are to break ground in the fall, according to Mr. Jordi.

Also, the selectman welcomed Joe Tierney, the new town building inspector. Mr. Tierney said his first weeks have been busy. He said he has applications for eight new buildings and 15 total projects.

Fire chief Manny Estrella consulted with the selectmen on the best way to fund a local program to train new firefighters rather than sending them, at greater expense, off Island for training. The town would work with the other Island towns. A motion was passed to do what’s necessary to make it work, either a memorandum of understanding or taking the issue to a town meeting, to be decided at a later date.

Police station building committee member Pat Mitchell reported that the new station is on schedule to be finished the week of February 7, 2014. He said the project is currently $6,262 under budget, due to the purchase of windows at a lower than projected cost.

Nancy Gardella, executive director of the Martha’s Vineyard Chamber of Commerce, told selectmen that West Tisbury would be a focal point of their Fall for the Arts, a Cape and Islands program that will celebrate local artists, artisans, and culture during the month of October. Selectman Cynthia Mitchell said she thinks that fits with the town’s reputation as the “Athens of the Vineyard.” Selectman Richard Knabel quickly added, “The old Athens.”

The selectmen meet next on August 7.