O.B. to work out deed restriction


The Oak Bluffs select board hit pause on a deed restriction for a Harbor Homes property on New York Avenue.

Harbor Homes purchased 111 New York Avenue in July, a six-bedroom home, in partnership with Island Housing Trust to serve Island women experiencing homelessness and to serve as a headquarters for the organization.

The request for the deed restriction was to keep the property as affordable housing in perpetuity, but the select board felt there were some kinks to work out concerning the use of Community Preservation Committee (CPC) funds and to make sure all their legal ducks were in a row.

The plan is to have women living at the property on the top floor while office space would be on the first floor, but select board member Gail Barmakian said the town needed to be clear on how much of the CPC money approved at the annual town meeting is going to just the affordable housing and whether or not the staff space on the first floor qualifies for CPC funding.

Select board member Brian Packish said town counsel developed a deed restriction around the original CPC funding request, which stated the property was to be purchased as permanent housing for women and residents earning up to 30 percent of the area median income (AMI).

“I think there was a thought there could be administrative offices, other types of space within the building and based on the CPC funding that’s not something that’s eligible to occur,” Packish said. “I think that’s where this change comes out to make it so the project will actually continue to conform with CPC requests, that’s the way it was explained to me.”

Harbor Homes executive director Karen Tewhey told the board that the organization is an educational program that provides life skills education and support staff. She said office space is a part of the program to work with clients.

The board tabled the item and will potentially bring it back at their next meeting.

“It all seems like it’s very viable and workable, it just seems like we need to make sure we have everything properly laid out,” Packish said.


  1. Stick with what the CPC money is supposed to be used for. Opening the gate allows IHT to slowly, each time something like this comes up, gradually and unnoticeably fully open the gate.

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