Fifth town approves amended Housing Bank legislation

A previous meeting with state Sen. Julian Cyr, left, has the Housing Bank Review Committee rethinking its approach. -Abigail Rosen

At its Monday meeting, the Edgartown select board voted in favor of sending the recently amended Martha’s Vineyard Housing Bank Act to the state legislature for consideration. 

At their last meeting, the Housing Bank Review Committee, charged with reviewing and modifying the Housing Bank legislation, agreed on a few amendments to the 27-page proposal. 

Although the committee was told by state Sen. Julian Cyr, D-Truro, and Rep. Dylan Fernandes, D-Falmouth at their meeting in October that it might be best to slim down the lofty act in order to increase the chances of being passed by the state, it was ultimately decided by the select boards of Aquinnah, Oak Bluffs, West Tisbury, Chilmark, and now Edgartown, to continue with the petition in full. 

Originally voted on by all six towns at town meetings in the spring, the Housing Bank Act’s newest version consists of three amendments. 

The first amendment restructures the town advisory boards’ membership from two housing committee members to one, with the other spot being filled by a board of assessors member. The second amendment made a clarification to the language. The third amendment clarified that “grants or gifts of money or other assets” will need to follow any rules and guidelines in the Housing Bank legislation, and be subject to any restrictions placed by the donor or grant giver.

Tisbury is set to take up the topic at Wednesday’s select board meeting.

Upon Edgartown’s approval, Julie Fay, co-chair of the Coalition to Create the M.V. Housing Bank, released a statement: “With Edgartown’s affirmative vote, that makes five towns approving identical filing wording. We hope Tisbury’s vote on Wednesday will be the same. We are on the cusp of Sen. Cyr and Rep. Fernandes being able to file M.V.’s legislation this session, better positioning it for passage next session. The Island community is on the path to realizing a critical tool to address this devastating housing crisis.”

The Housing Bank legislation proposes using a 2 percent fee on real estate transactions over $1 million to fund affordable housing on the Island.


  1. Hooray, Edgertown! So glad you are supporting this important legislation! We need the housing bank to help all the island towns make more housing available for those who want to work and continue to live here!

  2. This is great news! It is so important to create affordable housing and to improve the balance between the “haves” and the “have nots”!

  3. This is such a wonderful achievement made possible by the hard work of many. It is also the results of all Island towns working together to achieve a common goal. It’s a win win for all!
    Elaine M Tisbury’s

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