54-acre subdivision gets redesign

Controversial Meeting House Way project heads back to MVC with fewer houses, revamped green space.

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A screenshot from drone footage of the subdivision in Edgartown. — screenshot via Martha's Vineyard Commission

 

The expansive 54-acre Edgartown subdivision project between Meetinghouse Way and Meshacket Road will head back to the Martha’s Vineyard Commission (MVC) after spending time retooling the project to answer public complaints.

The project — one of the largest the MVC has reviewed — received intense scrutiny and severe pushback from several Edgartown residents, stakeholders, and conservationists at the project’s first public hearing in February. People were concerned with the project’s potential impact on traffic conditions, Island urbanization, nitrogen loading, and animal habitat loss.

Developers Douglas K. Anderson and Richard G. Matthews, operating as Meeting House Way LLC, purchased the property in June 2017 for $6.6 million. Both have listed addresses in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The updated and completely redesigned project — dubbed Meeting House Place — significantly changes the proposed layout. Plans now call for a 28-lot subdivision with an additional cluster of 10 below market rate townhouses for first time home buyers and “empty nesters.” 

Only single family homes are permitted, no guest homes are allowed, but living spaces above a garage are permitted. Each lot is allowed a maximum of five bedrooms. The property will also be on town water and wastewater.

The new 30-acre open-space footprint was lowered by three acres, but is contained to an entire side of the property, as opposed to the “wildlife corridors” the project previously had.

The new design for the 54-acre Meeting House subdivision. — Martha’s Vineyard Commission

The affordable housing component has been a major focus of the project. Meeting House Place abuts a proposed site of an affordable housing development owned by the town. Anderson has offered to pay $1.1 million to the Edgartown affordable housing committee to go toward the abutting affordable housing property. In addition to the lump sum, Anderson will pay $622,200 upon the sale of the 28 lots.
As an added future contribution to Island affordable housing, if any of the 28 lots are sold, the seller will have to pay a 1 percent fee on the sale price to the Dukes County Regional Housing Authority or a similar agency determined by the MVC.

The below market rate townhouses will be 1,000 square feet each and be priced at $579,000. The townhouses will be sold to qualified buyers — first time homebuyers who have lived and worked on the Island year-round for at least five years or a person that is at least 60 years of age and has been a full time resident for at least 15 years. For the first 25 years after purchase, townhouses must be the owner’s principal residence, the owners are not allowed to rent the house, and townhouses may only be sold to qualified buyers.

“It’s pretty much a new project,” executive director Adam Turner said at a July MVC meeting. “We’re going to do it as if they withdrew it, and we’re starting again.”

The project will go before the MVC on Aug. 22 at 7 pm.