Standing on a bare concrete floor in an unfinished three-bedroom apartment on a sunny, balmy spring morning on Saturday, April 28, around 30 people, including a couple of families with children, listened to Island Housing Trust (IHT) project director Derrill Bazzy describe, in detail, the construction specifics of the low- and moderate-income apartments known as Scott’s Grove.
It was an IHT open house to highlight details of the project and answer any questions the public might have, Bazzy said. Scott’s Grove is a $3 million group of nine West Tisbury apartments, totaling 18 bedrooms in two clusters of five buildings, under construction behind the Manter Field left field line on the West Tisbury–Edgartown Road.
“These buildings are built like upside-down boats,” Bazzy said as he described the state-of-the-art energy-efficient materials and construction techniques. “They should last a hundred years without needing any major repairs.” He said the apartments, super-insulated, and air- and watertight, with energy-efficient heat pump technology and fresh air heat recovery ventilators, will be comfortable and relatively inexpensive to heat and cool. He pointed out that the buildings are located to maximize solar heat gain through large windows, while allowing for the preservation of many of the property’s trees, and are appointed with long-lasting, rot-resistant bare cedar that will never need painting. The adjacent yards will include both shared and private spaces, and each unit has an attached storage shed.
The group of prospective tenants, and proponents of the project, as well as some who wanted to learn more about the plans and the construction techniques, asked few questions, as it seemed Bazzy’s succinct and thorough descriptions left little uncovered.
The West Tisbury affordable housing committee devised and developed the Scott’s Grove project over a more than four-year period in a joint effort with the Island nonprofit Island Housing Trust, according to the committee’s vice chairman, Michael Colaneri, who with his ubiquitous camera around his neck, exhibited a big smile as he talked about his pleasure with the results of the project. “We were able to put Community Preservation Act [CPA] funds from the town aside for several years to make this work,” he said.
The town of West Tisbury provided $1.4 million of CPA funding, and a 51-year ground lease on the land, to the effort. The remainder of the financing includes a $900,000 grant from the Massachusetts Community Scale Housing Initiative, $575,000 in bank financing, and more than $125,000 in private donations.
Scott’s Grove is named after Susan Scott, who donated the 2.8-acre parcel of land to the town of West Tisbury.
IHT executive director Philippe Jordi told the group that the apartments are on schedule and on budget for a September completion date, and that IHT expects to begin accepting tenant applications in mid-May.
Scott’s Grove will have three one-bedroom units, three two-bedroom units, and three three-bedroom units. The apartments will be managed by the Dukes County Regional Housing Authority, including the initial tenant qualification and lottery selection process. Applications are not yet available, according to the housing authority.
Households earning between $19,500 and $77,700 annually may apply for inclusion in the lottery. Monthly rents will be between $685 and $1,550, depending on unit size. A local preference for six of the apartments will be offered to West Tisbury residents at the initial lottery.