Edgartown affordable housing home to be placed on the market

Eligible applicants may not make more than 120 percent of the area median income.

Edgartown selectmen voted unanimously to revoke a taxi driver's license after seven violations. — The Martha's Vineyard Times file photo

The Edgartown affordable housing committee (AHC) is overseeing the resale of one of four affordable housing–sanctioned houses that were moved to Metcalf Drive in 2002 as part of the Edgartown Resident Homesite Program. 45 Metcalf Drive has been owned by Michael Lynch since 2003, but he left the three-bedroom house in September without selling it. Selectmen voted on Monday to allow the AHC Trust to buy the property from Mr. Lynch so the town might then sell it to a new affordable housing–qualified owner.

The house will be sold for $336,000, which includes $8,000 for anticipated maintenance fees while the house is in the AHC Trust’s possession. Representatives from the AHC said they hope to close on a sale by the end of February.

Selectman Art Smadbeck expressed concern about the process after AHC members did not make it immediately clear that the trust would purchase the house before it is sold to a new owner.

“Presumably the town can’t own this house unless we give the money up front for this,” he said.

AHC assistant Lucy Morrison explained that the house would be bought by the trust, which she said is different from the town owning the property.

“In a perfect world, Mike Lynch would have sold it to an eligible purchaser, but it didn’t quite line up with him leaving at the beginning of September,” Ms. Morrison said.

“So you’re going to use the Housing Trust money to buy this house from the current owner and then sell it. Presumably, we’re not going to lose any money over this?” asked Mr. Smadbeck.

Ms. Morrison said that they would not.

The price of the house was established using a standard projection figure based on what the house sold for in 2003, Ms. Morrison said. The house has to stay within an affordable price range as part of an affordable housing program. Anyone who buys the house must not make more than 120 percent of the area median income.

“Just to be clear, that takes it out of what the state calls ‘affordable’ and puts it into what the state and we call ‘community’ [housing],” said AHC member Christine Brown. Community housing is a special dispensation granted to Dukes County by the state that allows housing developments for those who make between 80 and 150 percent of the area median income.

Selectmen voted unanimously to authorize the trust to use $336,000 from the AHC Trust fund, authorization which is required for the AHC to spend more than $2,000 from its fund at one time. Chairman Michael Donaroma was not present at the meeting.

Eligibility requirements

According to the application, preference will be given to Edgartown residents or employees. Eligible applicants will have to meet four main criteria: Everyone in the household must be a first-time homebuyer; the entire household’s income must be no greater than 120 percent of the area median income, and assets must be below $150,000; the household must be preapproved for a mortgage, and the household must be of an appropriate size.

The maximum annual income for a single-person family is $73,420, according to the draft application. The maximum annual income for a three-person family is $94,390; for a family of five, the limit is $113,270.

Exceptions to the first-time homebuyer stipulation will be made for single parents, households with at least one person aged 55 or older, a person who is divorced, a current Edgartown affordable housing homeowner, a homeowner with a house not permanently affixed to a foundation, or a homeowner whose house cannot be brought to code for less than the cost of building a new house.

Applications for the house will close mid-December. According to a letter from the AHC attached to the draft application, the Dukes County Regional Housing Authority “will serve as the lottery agent and assist prospective applicants.”