Edgartown to review housing bank article


The Edgartown select board sent the draft housing bank warrant article to town counsel for review at its regular meeting Monday.

Select board chair Michael Donaroma said the article will be sent to town counsel Ron Rappaport. “We don’t have much to say until we hear Ron’s opinion, and then we will more than likely invite you back,” Donaroma said.

Town administrator James Hagerty said he would aim for a Dec. 6 follow-up discussion with the Coalition to Create the Martha’s Vineyard Housing Bank.

The draft warrant article is making the rounds. Last week, Chilmark voted to endorse it and place it on its annual town meeting warrant

This is the Island’s third attempt at a housing bank. This proposal seeks a 2 percent real estate transfer fee through a mechanism similar to the Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank. However, unlike the Land Bank, the first $1 million of a sale price isn’t subject to the 2 percent fee. As currently drafted, the housing bank would consist of seven elected commissioners, each representing one of the Vineyard’s six towns, plus one commissioner at large. The legislation also calls for a town advisory board for each town. This board would have the authority to approve or deny any project consisting of two or more dwellings. Among the priorities of the housing bank, according to the legislation, would be to target pre-existing dwellings for conversion to affordable units, as opposed to the ground up building of units.

Four of the six Island towns must approve the legislation at the annual town meeting for it to move forward and become reality.

The warrant article now heads to the Aquinnah select board on Tuesday, and the West Tisbury select board on Wednesday. The coalition meets with Oak Bluffs on Dec. 14, and Tisbury on Dec. 15.

“We’re making a dedicated effort to meet with all the select boards well in advance of the filing deadlines, so there’s plenty of opportunity for dialogue input and adjustments to the language,” coalition coordinator Laura Silber told The Times during a phone call.

The deadline to submit warrant articles for each town is: Tisbury on Dec. 15, Oak Bluffs on Jan. 21, Edgartown on Jan. 4, Aquinnah on Feb. 28, West Tisbury on Feb. 1, and Chilmark on Dec. 30. The warrant article language needs to be consistent across each town.