Chilmark wrangles over affordable housing heritability


Chilmark selectmen acted on two measures at their Tuesday meeting involving the permanent affordability of lots and homes set aside as affordable housing, and in at least one way, each measure would set opposite policies. Town bylaws currently require that affordable housing remains permanently affordable.

Selectmen approved language for a special town meeting article that would change the town bylaw covering heritability of an affordable property. The change would allow an owner to pass the property on to a child, even if the child does not qualify under affordability income guidelines. All other restrictions on resale of the property would remain. Selectmen Frank Fenner and Warren Doty voted for the article’s wording, while chairman J.B. Riggs Parker voted against it.

In a separate action, selectmen unanimously approved language for a ground lease that will regulate property in the Middle Line Road affordable housing development. The ground lease would prohibit an owner from passing property on to a descendent, unless the descendent qualifies under income guidelines. If the descendent does not qualify, the property would be sold to another qualified applicant who does meet income guidelines.

The two measures are separate. If voters approve the warrant article at their March 26 special town meeting, it will not affect the wording of the ground leases.