The Coalition to Create the Martha’s Vineyard Housing Bank will clarify language in its draft warrant article, following a public forum on Saturday morning.
After one year of collecting members and gathering support, the Coalition to Create the Martha’s Vineyard Housing Bank drafted a warrant article that it plans to present to voters at annual town meetings in 2022.
Saturday’s forum, which had over 60 attendees, fielded questions from the public about how the Housing Bank would operate and who it would serve.
The coalition is working to model a housing bank after the Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank, and collect a 2 percent transfer fee on real estate transactions, paid by the buyer, but only on all dollars above $1 million: A home purchased for $999,999 or less would be exempt from the fee, while a home purchased for $1.2 million would be taxed 2 percent on $200,000.
Since its inception, the Coalition has been focused on two things: getting statewide transfer fee legislation passed on Beacon Hill and creating an Island-wide Housing Bank to receive and distribute those transfer fee funds.
Currently the Coalition boasts a 130-member coalition council, a 17-member steering committee, six town select board representatives (several down-Island select board reps were missing Saturday), a Dukes County representative, a Martha’s Vineyard Commission representative, and two representatives from the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah).
The draft article states that four out of six Island towns must approve of a housing bank. As drafted, the housing bank would consist of seven elected commissioners, one from each town plus one at-large member. Each town will have a town advisory board with representation from existing town committees and boards. These advisory boards are consulted, and must approve any project of more than two dwelling units in their town.
Housing bank funds would be available for projects that target applicants with incomes up to 240 percent of area median income (AMI). The housing bank may make loans or grants, may borrow, and may buy and sell or lease property. The housing bank will not develop, renovate, manage, or operate properties.
All the projects are permanently restricted to year-round occupancy, and projects receiving grants will be income-restricted up to 240 percent of AMI.
Projects that reuse developed property, are close to existing services, and address climate change and water quality will be given priority.
The draft article also says the state legislature may adjust, but any substantive changes will require majority vote by select boards.
The warrant article also has a sunset clause built-in that would make the …….