Addresses housing shortage

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To the Editor:

The Chilmark housing committee, working with the planning board, the board of health, and the zoning board of appeals, has come up with another way to address the shortage of available year-round housing for our working families, friends, and community.

At the annual town meeting on Monday, April 27, voters will be asked to consider a proposed zoning bylaw amendment which will allow property owners to build “accessory apartments.” It’s modeled after a similar bylaw adopted by the town of West Tisbury, and we are hoping to give homeowners the ability to use this bylaw to provide year-round housing for family members like in-laws or children, to create housing opportunities for those in our community for whom rental housing is almost impossible to secure and to allow homeowners the ability to “age at home” with a caregiver close by.

The bylaw has proved popular in West Tisbury, and importantly, is administratively manageable. We hope it meets with equal enthusiasm and success in Chilmark. While it won’t solve the problem, we hope it will become another tool in our arsenal to add to the 11-plus year-round rentals in our town. Please come to one of our informational meetings at the Chilmark library at 5:30 pm on Wednesday, April 1, and Thursday, April 9, to learn more and ask questions.

Jim Feiner

Chairman, Chilmark housing committee