MVC welcomes new housing planner 

After helping to spearhead the Island’s Housing Bank initiative, Silber steps down.

Laura Silber, who was coordinator for the Coalition to Create the Martha's Vineyard Housing Bank, is leaving to take a job as housing planner for the Martha's Vineyard Commission. -Nicole Friedler

In a statement issued last week, the Coalition to Create the MV Housing Bank (CCMVHB) announced that Laura Silber will be stepping down from her role as the coalition’s coordinator.

Silber will be transitioning from her two-year role with the CCMVHB to the Martha’s Vineyard Commission, where she will be working as the commission’s full-time Island housing planner. 

“[Silber] has a unique talent for grassroots organizing, an incisive grasp of state and local housing policy, and has forged strong relationships with planners and policymakers across the Island, the Cape, and on Beacon Hill,” the coalition’s executive committee stated in the release; “She is a valuable resource for the Vineyard community and the commonwealth. We are so glad her talents are staying on-Island via our regional planning agency, as we continue to address an unprecedented housing crisis both locally and statewide … We wish Laura all the best in her new role at the MVC, with great appreciation for her skill, thoughtfulness, and diplomacy over the past two years.”

Taking over Silber’s responsibilities with the coalition will be executive committee member and the former secretary of housing and economic development for Gov. Deval Patrick’s administration, Dan O’Connell, along with recently hired Noah Lipnick, who will serve as administrator for communications and community engagement. 

The coalition was formed in 2021, following two failed attempts to create a Housing Bank on Martha’s Vineyard. The first was a 2005 agreement among the six Island towns and a number of real estate agents, which was ultimately dismissed by the state after being lobbied against by the Massachusetts Association of Realtors; the second was after the introduction of short-term rental charge to the state’s established rooms excise tax law in 2019, which proposed that 50 percent of short-term rental revenue from tax collections be allocated to an Island-wide Housing Bank. That proposal was widely received unfavorably by the town’s select boards, and was subsequently rejected at all six town meetings. 

The coalition’s efforts, which involved modeling the housing bank after the Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank, and proposes to adopt a 2 percent transfer fee on transactions of property valued over $1 million, proved successful, having garnered overwhelming support by Island select boards and residents at all six town annual town meetings last spring

After review by the Housing Bank Review Committee, which consisted of representatives from all six Island towns who were charged with recommending modifications and amendments to the 27-page proposed legislation, the Housing Bank Act finally made its way to Massachusetts legislators in late December. 

The M.V. Housing Bank bill is expected to be filed on behalf of the six Island towns by state Sen. Julian Cyr, D-Truro, and Rep. Dylan Fernandes, D-Falmouth, at the beginning of the legislative session, which starts Wednesday. 


  1. Congratulations Laura!! You will continue to be an asset to the coordinated effort to improve the housing crisis that is so real on the island.

  2. We were so lucky to have Laura guiding the CCMVHB ship for two years. I can’t say it enough. Thoughtful, confident, competent. We will be in great hands with Dan and Noah for the upcoming chapter. Up next: island folks let state reps know that we want / need / deserve this legislation to be passed! It’s never too late to help, if you’re interested. Check out the CCMVHB site for details.

  3. Seems like a good addition to the MVC. Not sure it fits into the MVC’s enabling legislation, we’ll see.

  4. In Laura Silber, the MVC is gaining a truly talented and indefatigable consensus builder with excellent organizational skills and knowledge in the field of housing. As a volunteer for CCMVHB, I was impressed by how Laura’s leadership on the housing bank led to a unified front on part of the entire island that legislators in Boston cannot ignore as they consider the MV Housing Bank bill for eventual ratification. The MVC is indeed fortunate to have Laura on board.

    • The taxpayers are not so fortunate to have her on board as the cost of running the MVC is spiraling out of control. The island needs to seriously ask itself how useful this one’s proud organization is. It is not as necessary or as relevant as it once was and yet this organization continues to suck away millions of taxpayer dollars.

      • If we were serious about taxpayer dollars, we’d regionalize and have everything under one, streamlined roof

  5. As a member of the CCMVHB Steering Committee, I had the opportunity to work with the many dedicated people who were committeed to addressing the housing crisis and Laura Silber picked up the gauntlet and provided the coordination, research and dedication necessary to move the goals of CCMVHB forward. How lucky we are to have her at the MVC to apply her skills to the benfit of the entire Island on a permanent basis.

  6. In all due respect I question what the MVC staff of “planners” really contribute to their overall mission .. yrs ago planners weren’t really part of their agenda. But we all know that has taken a wrong turn on the subjective road. Not to mention who’s paying for expansion staff??)

    • The taxpayers are paying 100% of the MVC budget. And their budget is now over $2 million a year with the majority of it being paid by island taxpayers. The rest is paid by taxpayers across the country which some consider to be free money. Grants are not free money it is coming from a tax payer somewhere. The problem with any government program is once they’re started they are hard to end. How can we stop the MVC from being out of control?

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