To the Editor:
At the recent joint meeting of the West Tisbury town selectmen and the members of the Affordable Housing Committee (AHC) on July 10, they approved the formation of a committee to develop a plan for moving ahead with the 2019 town meeting’s mandate to create a vehicle for creation of housing affordable for Island residents.
At this joint meeting, the selectmen and the AHC identified the Island-wide committees, departments, and authorities to be represented. It was also decided that the committee would include two at-large town residents.
I am writing to suggest that these two town resident slots on the committee be reserved for 1) a young year-round worker, and 2) a senior citizen.
At the West Tisbury town meeting, young workers, even two-income households, find it nearly impossible to find year-round housing suitable for a small family.
The many, many seniors living on this Island who might wish to, or be forced to by the aging process, downsize have no suitable place to go. Currently, private developers have no incentive to develop the types of settings where seniors will enjoy senior living safely and affordably. Instead, more and more seniors are forced to move off-Island.
A promise was made by the West Tisbury selectmen at our town meeting to initiate a plan that creates an Island-wide approach to housing development that will allow Islanders to live, work, and retire here. The committee to be formed must include the voices of those most in need.