Families move into their new homes

Island Housing Trust holds two ribbon-cutting ceremonies.


Gary Birge made a deal with Island Housing Trust. He sold them his two-acre property on Daggett Avenue, with a main house and cottage. The main house was renovated into two three-bedroom homes, and Birge is now living in the cottage as part of the agreement.

IHT held back-to-back ribbon-cutting ceremonies July 22 and 23 at socially distant gatherings that will provide a total of nine new homes for a total of 25 year-round Island residents — 12 of them children.

Six new homes in three duplexes were created on Greenwood Avenue. The town of Tisbury’s multifamily zoning bylaw provision made it possible for this pocket neighborhood to be built on a one-acre lot within walking distance of town.

Funding for the expansion was provided by IHT’s donors, including Charlesbank Homes Foundation; Tisbury, Oak Bluffs, and West Tisbury Community Preservation grants; Department of Housing and Community Development; IHT’s Make It Happen Fund (an acquisition bridge loan from the Rappaport Family Foundation); and construction financing from Martha’s Vineyard Bank.

Birge describes the deal with IHT as a mutually beneficial arrangement. “Through this deal, I was able to keep the guest cottage,” said Birge. “Island Housing Trust put an offer in, and they suggested that if I wanted to, I would be able to keep the guest cottage. It was a really good deal for them, and it was a really good deal for me.”

“Initially, I was just putting it up for sale. When Island Housing Trust showed interest, it really seemed like a great idea,” said Birge. “This is a wonderful property. It’s two acres, there’s plenty of space, it’s not directly on the road — it’s off of the road. It’s one mile from the center of town, and one mile from Lake Tashmoo Beach.”

Birge also wanted to credit others for their role in this repurposing arrangement with IHT.

“The realtor, Candy daRosa, was the one that suggested to Island Housing Trust to let me keep the guest cottage,” said Birge. “The other is the next-door neighbor. His name is Dave Maddox. What he did was, his property had frontage that he was able to exchange with Island Housing Trust that made this whole split of land possible.”

Birge, who attended the ribbon-cutting held by IHT, is excited about the potential of the new arrangement. “It was terrific. It was very happy. It turns out that the people that bought one of the units are related to my son and his wife,” he added. “This is a small Island. It’s like my son’s wife’s cousin.”

“It’s great to sell a part of your property and have family living there,” said Birge. “We got to meet all of the new people. I think it’s going to be a really good scene for everybody.”

Funding for this project was provided by IHT’s donors; a Tisbury CPC grant; and IHT’s Make It Happen Fund (an acquisition bridge loan from the Cardinal Brook Trust). The Dukes County Regional Housing Authority did all of the marketing and income qualification, as well as conducting the lotteries for the homeowners who were selected.

Both of these pocket neighborhoods utilized NitROE Waste-Water Treatment System. The systems were locally designed, fabricated, and installed by KleanTu LLC of Edgartown. Based on the multiyear performance of these systems, the two IHT Island installations are designed to produce a highly treated water achieving more than 90 percent total nitrogen removal, along with more than 98 percent reduction of coliform pathogen bacteria.