Tisbury selectmen Jeff Kristal and Geoghan Coogan approved a request from Island Affordable Housing Fund (IAHF) executive director Ewell Hopkins, to help the Bridge Affordable Housing Project to explore funding options. Selectman Tristan Israel was absent from the meeting Tuesday night.
Representatives of several Island religious organizations formed the nonprofit Bridge Housing Corporation (BHC) in 2002 and launched an initiative to build Bridge Commons, a Chapter 40B affordable housing project. The corporation secured a loan for nearly $1.7 million from Boston Community Capital to buy a 14.8-acre Tisbury site at State and Deer Hill roads on which to build 22 homes in 11 two-family buildings.
The project received approval from the Martha’s Vineyard Commission in 2003 and Tisbury’s zoning board of appeals in 2004, and won court appeals brought by neighbors. In 2009 the BHC board announced a decision to put the Tisbury property on the market because the project had run out of financial resources and they could not repay the site purchase loan.
Since then the board continued to explore ways to salvage Bridge Housing. Mr. Hopkins said Boston Community Capital is eager to support the project and granted two extensions on the loan. Since the second extension expires at the end of January, Mr. Hopkins said IAHF would make an accelerated effort to help the BHC board identify available funding options. Despite the economy, money from grants and state funds is available for certain types of projects, Mr. Hopkins said, particularly ones that offer multi-family rental housing.
Modification to rental units or another combination of homeownership would require a new project design, however. Mr. Hopkins said it would not be in IAHF’s purview to modify any plan or permits or make a recommendation. Selectman chairman Kristal said Bridge Housing’s comprehensive permit for its current design expires in 2012.
“We’ll be working with the Bridge Housing board to look at alternatives over the next 30 days,” Mr. Hopkins said, adding the warning that, “We may find no option and the property will go into receivership.”
Mr. Coogan complimented Mr. Hopkins and IAHF for reaching out to offer help to Bridge Housing, a project that is not one of its own.
In other business, the selectmen approved Campbell Construction Company’s request for an extension to April 15 for completion of the Spring Building Project. They also appointed Daniel J. Seidman to the Dukes County Regional Housing Authority Board and Doron Katzman as an alternate member of the Shellfish Advisory Committee.
At the conclusion of the 50-minute meeting, Mr. Bugbee dubbed it “Edgartown-esque,” in keeping with Edgartown’s reputation for short selectmen’s meetings.