Making progress


We were chatting with a source the other day when he told us something very impressive. At this moment, there are affordable housing projects either in development or actually being constructed in all six Island towns, and in some cases there are multiple projects being pursued. We’ve reported on them individually, but had not made the connection.

In Tisbury, Island Housing Trust (IHT) is in the construction phase for its development at Kuehn’s Way in Tisbury. The development features a pocket neighborhood of 20 affordable apartments. Meanwhile, developer Brook Katzen is seeking permission to redevelop the mini golf course on State Road into a mixed-use development that would feature some affordable housing.

Edgartown has issued a request for proposals for Meshacket Way, which will feature 36 rentals and four homeownership opportunities on town-owned land. 

At a May town meeting in West Tisbury, voters approved the transfer of land at 401 State Road to the affordable housing committee.

Oak Bluffs has a request for proposals out for the Southern Tier property, an eight-acre parcel that will feature 60 year-round rental apartments. Meanwhile, CapeBuilt recently purchased Lagoon Ridge, and will follow David (“Davio”) Danielson’s dream of bringing affordable housing to that site off Barnes Road.

Aquinnah just awarded IHT the opportunity to build four apartments on land abutting the town hall.

Chilmark has held forums on the Peaked Hill Pasture proposed development. The forums are being held by the town’s affordable housing committee to get community input on the best use of the property.

Last week, Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank, IHT, and William Cumming announced a deal to develop affordable housing at the old Olsen Farm owned by Huseby Meadows LLC in West Tisbury. The proposed development proposes three “Islander lots” for individuals either born on the Vineyard or who have worked in public service for more than 10 years, eight rentals dedicated to teachers, eight market-rate homes, and two guesthouses, according to Cumming. Of the 34 acres, seven acres will be under the control of the Land Bank.

There will undoubtedly be some NIMBYism as this project makes its way through the permitting process. We hope that planners will respectfully listen to the criticism, but disregard any concerns that are only related to the proposed development being in the “wrong location.”

What is happening on the Vineyard now provides reason for optimism. Coupled with the push for legislation to create a housing bank funded through a transfer tax, there is significant hope that the Island can make a dent in the housing crisis.

Let’s keep the momentum going.


  1. Where does it end? When everyone who wants to live on island has an affordable home? What is the long term plan? We are operating in crisis solution mode. I want to hear planners tell us what is the number where they have built enough to say this crisis is over. In the current mode that is actually, never. Food for thought.

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