Affordable houses awarded in Tisbury
"Home for the holidays" took on new meaning for two Tisbury residents who won the chance to buy affordable houses in a lottery held at Tuesday's town selectmen's meeting.
The names of Margaret Mirko and Darran Reubens were drawn first in two separate drawings by Ray LaPorte, board chairman. The affordable housing lottery awarded the two qualified applicants each a two-bedroom home on Takemmy Path in Vineyard Haven.
Island Housing Trust (IHT) has contracted with Tucker Hubbell of Good House Associates to build the homes, which are expected to be completed in early February for occupancy by March 1, 2006. IHT owns the land beneath the houses, which will be leased to the homeowners for a nominal fee. Should the homeowners decide to later sell their homes, they can only be sold to the IHT or an income-qualified buyer.
The first drawing was from a pool of nine applicants who qualified with an income of 80 percent or less average median income ($37,000 for one person and $42,300 for two). Ms. Mirko will pay $141,000 for the home.
Attending the lottery with her daughter Darby Patterson, a second grader at Tisbury School, Ms. Mirko said afterwards they almost did not come. She works at Morrice Florist in Vineyard Haven, and said she has been "shuffling about for awhile," living in several houses during her 11 years on the Island. After the drawing, she described herself as "in shock," as several people came up to hug and congratulate her and her daughter.
The second drawing involved a pool of three applicants who qualified with an income of 140 percent or less AMI ($64,800 for one person and $74,100 for two). Mr. Reubens will have the opportunity to purchase the second house for $269,000. He and his wife Sheedel have lived on Martha's Vineyard for seven years and have a three-year-old son, Eric. They were unable to attend the lottery, but after hearing about their good fortune later, Ms. Reubens said the news was "a blessing." Mr. Reubens is an architect with Terrain Associates in Tisbury.
Both Ms. Mirko and Mr. Reubens received more weight in the drawing under "Tisbury preference" criteria for their length of residence in Tisbury, community and town service, and other ties to the town.
In other business, the selectmen approved an extension of the town's contract for trash removal with BFI through June 2007. Fred LaPiana, director of the department of public works, who worked on the contract terms with BFI, said the proposed new price, an increase of $5 per ton, "is the very best price you can certainly get on the Island.
John Bugbee, the town administrator, announced that six applicants have come forward to serve on a committee to consider beer and wine sales at restaurants in Vineyard Haven. The applicants will be asked to attend the selectmen's January 3 meeting.
Mr. Bugbee also reported that a traffic issues group met recently to discuss short-term and long-term options to improve traffic flow in Vineyard Haven. Tom Pachico, selectman, told Mr. Bugbee it was important to set up a meeting with Steamship Authority personnel as well to talk about the traffic circle near the SSA terminal and improvements and changes for the SSA parking lot.
Near the conclusion of the meeting, Jeff Kristal, owner of the Crocker House Inn in Vineyard Haven, asked the selectmen to consider contributing $1,000 towards sending Tisbury Business Association (TBA) representatives to a cruise ship conference in Miami on March 13 to 15.
Mr. Kristal said the Oak Bluffs Business Association would like the TBA to join in its efforts to attract cruise ship visits to Martha's Vineyard by promoting the down-Island towns at the conference.
Mr. LaPorte advised Mr. Kristal to present a budget for the trip at the next selectmen's meeting. "Martha's Vineyard certainly belongs at the conference, but I would like to see a budget. I don't want to pay for somebody's beer and wine," said Mr. LaPorte, adding that he was not sure where the funds would come from.