Lessons from Nantucket

The Martha's Vineyard Housing Bank Review Committee will be looking to state Senator Julian Cyr, D-Truro, for guidance on how to get the home rule petition through the Senate. — MV Times

The Martha’s Vineyard Housing Bank Review Committee is taking notes on how to get its proposed housing bank’s transfer fee bill codified after a similarly structured bill for Nantucket was withdrawn from consideration during this legislative session. 

The amendment acknowledging Nantucket’s home rule petition for a Housing Bank transfer fee was part of an omnibus economic development bill. But with Republican Gov. Charlie Baker likely to veto the transfer fee, state Sen. Julian Cyr, D-Truro, made the decision to withdraw it and bring it back next session.

Although the withdrawal is indeed a disappointment for the Vineyard’s sister island, it does not affect Martha’s Vineyard directly.  By unpacking the failed bill’s contents and its path to the state, the Vineyard’s HBRC is more equipped to produce a piece of legislature perhaps less likely to be rejected.

At the moment, the “pressure is off,” said committee chair Jim Malkin, essentially giving the committee more time to hammer out details of the act before submitting it to Island select boards and later, the state. 

Malkin said he has spoken to Cyr following the withdrawal of Nantucket’s transfer fee bill in order to learn and understand the processes of amending the home rule petition, and to put the Vineyard in a better position to get approval next legislative session. Malkin told the committee that he expects Cyr to attend a HBRC meeting in September, date to be determined. 

The committee also discussed proposed amendments sent to committee member James Hagerty, as the HBRC has previously stated that they welcome suggestions from all Island entities and residents. 

The Vineyard Conservation Society’s proposed amendments suggest the finalized bill  “contains the strongest possible environmental protection language,” in hopes to further fortify the environmental conservation regulations already existing in the act. 

West Tisbury resident Michael Colaneri, who was not present at Wednesday’s meeting, had submitted amendments that, according to Malkin “went beyond what we’re trying to do here, which is to create amendments to the act. . . not wholesale rewrite it.” 


  1. It is good to see the HB people finally acknowleging the environmental issues with the HB after a year spent downplaying and denying the environment as a legitimate issue when raised by HB opponents. However, even the Vineyard Conservation Society amendements, that have yet to be adopted, will not go far enough to protect our environmentally sensitive Island from an increase in the rate or population growth. The Vineyard has already accomodated 25% growth in year round population over the last ten years, the second highest growth rate in the Commonwealth. We don’t need a tax on Vineyard homeowners to juice the development of affordable housing. It’s just not necessary because there is enough already in the pipeline. The increased development and population growth caused by the HB is unsustainable and will do irreparable damage to our fragile ecosystem. Keep Our Island Green


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