Coalition drafts housing bank article


The Coalition to Create the Martha’s Vineyard Housing Bank is holding its second public forum on Nov. 6 from 9 am to 10:30 am, to introduce its draft warrant article.

The work-in-progress warrant article can be reviewed on the coalition’s website at

Since its inception, the coalition’s goal has been to put an article on Island town warrants at annual town meetings in 2022. A Zoom link for the forum will be posted 24 hours prior to the event.

The coalition is working to model a housing bank after the Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank, and collect a 2 percent transfer fee on real estate transactions, paid by the buyer, but only on all dollars above $1 million: A home purchased for $999,999 would be exempt from the fee, while a home purchased for $1.2 million would be taxed 2 percent on $200,000.

The draft article states that four out of six Island towns must approve of a housing bank. As drafted, the housing bank would consist of seven elected commissioners, one from each town plus one at-large member. Each town will have a town advisory board with representation from existing town committees and boards. These advisory boards are consulted, and must approve any project of more than two dwelling units in their town.

Housing bank funds would be available for projects that target applicants with incomes up to 240 percent of area median income (AMI). The housing bank may make loans or grants, may borrow, and may buy and sell or lease property. The housing bank will not develop, renovate, manage, or operate properties. 

All the projects are permanently restricted to year-round occupancy, and projects receiving grants will be income-restricted up to 240 percent of AMI.

Projects that reuse developed property, are close to existing services, and address climate change and water quality will be given priority.

The draft article also says the state legislature may adjust, but any substantive changes will require majority vote by select boards.


  1. Taxing real estate transactions in order to make it easier for more people to live here is short-sighted. The Vineyard already has one of the fastest growing year round populations in the Commonwealth. The warrant article will juice housing development and the total result will be terrible for the natural environment. The Vineyard building lobby has endorsed the pending enabling legislation because the building industry stands to make millions if this passes. The warrant article will empower a bureaucracy to decide who gets the housing, and who does not. It will appropriate the emerging low-cost housing opportunities in competition with people seeking to own a home on MV. And what is being promised in exchange for that is “housing” for all, not true home ownership. Let’s be clear. What’s being offered here is a tax to fund twenty years or more of rampant housing development and unsustainable population growth. Keep Our Island Green.

    • thank you Dan for speaking up. Having lived on the island for 35 + years and a regular visitor in the late 80’s, I am not appalled at the changes being proposed on a monthly basis with total disregard of the entire environment, including .. yes we humans. The island housing, and economy is slowly becoming unable to sustain itself in all aspects.
      Our town governing bodies need to consider a moratorium on building, for at least 2 years similar to the one done in the early 90’s. There has to be a breather all around.

      This 2% I believe is another con. If there was a true concern by the interested parties, then do an unbiased study of the housing needs as well as an entire Island Planning study. Spend millions on it and put it into action rather than piecemealing the island to death with all housing.

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