Chilmark wants setback relief on homesite bylaw


The Chilmark select board directed the planning board to add setback relief into a proposed zoning bylaw for the upcoming April town meeting.

The proposed bylaw would lift the minimum one-acre size for homesite housing, which is available to Chilmark residents and workers who earn up to 150 percent of the area median income in Dukes County.

Richard Osnoss, a member of the Chilmark planning board, said he spoke with Reid Silva of Vineyard Land Surveying, and said it was possible to get homesite housing done on lots as small as 0.5 acres.

“It doesn’t mean every 0.5 acre site will meet the requirements of a setback between a well and a septic, or construction setbacks to the abutters’ property line,” Osnoss said. He added he would like to see more homesite housing lots created.

Select board member Bill Rossi said the town needed to look at setbacks for undersized lots.

“It’s going to be difficult to have a 0.5 acre lot with 50-foot setbacks,” he said. He added that he would not like to leave the issue up for consent from abutting neighbors. “I’ve been astonished over the years, when a youth lot or any kind of affordable housing lot, nine times out of 10 the neighbors come out against it.”

In other business, the board unanimously appointed Forrest Filler as a temporary building inspector due to longtime inspector Lenny Jason being out for a month. Malkin said the town was fortunate to have Filler.

The board also approved Joan Malkin as the town’s representative to the Martha’s Vineyard Commission. She is the current chair of the commission. Jim Malkin recused himself from the discussion and vote. 

The board also approved a job description for town treasurer.