Housing bank scores another win

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After all six Martha’s Vineyard towns were swept during annual community meetings, the housing bank was accepted by a vote of 138 to 24 in Thursday’s election.

The housing bank already has all the support it needs to send to the legislature, but voters continue to show just how supportive the island is of affordable housing needs. The legislation would allow the island to receive a 2 percent transfer fee when buying property on the island. The first million US dollars would be exempt from the fee. So the buyer of a $1.2 million home would pay a 2 percent fee on $200,000.

This is the third attempt at a housing bank on Martha’s Vineyard. The first, in 2005, had the approval of all six island cities and island brokers, but was shot down by the state legislature when the Massachusetts Association of Realtors took action. A second attempt in 2019 to use 50 percent of the funds collected from the expanded excise tax on rooms for rentals like Airbnb and VRBO was squashed by city councils and received little to no approval from island leaders.

A total of 169 voters cast their ballots in the annual election.

There was no contested race for the Select Board. Aquinnah voters also had other voting questions to answer in the election.

A request calling for $200,000 for engineering and schematic phasing for City Hall and its offices adjacent to the comfort station at Aquinnah Circle passed by a vote of 108 to 53.

David Golden, an Associate Regional Reviewer with the Regional Resource Group, previously told the Times This debt exclusion “would mean 23 cents per $1,000 valuation.” According to Golden, the average home value of Aquinnah is $1.6 million, which would result in an average tax increase of $366 for the owner.

Another issue, which also sought to override the Proposition 2½ capital exclusion to purchase two parking ticket machines, was moot because voters shot it down during the annual city meeting. She also failed in the elections with 89 votes to 66.

The third non-binding question, urging Holtec, the owner of the Pilgrim nuclear power plant, not to dump radioactive water into Cape Cod Bay, passed overwhelmingly by a vote of 159 to 1.

In the Board of Health Race, Gerald Green defeated James Glavin 91-44. “I’m thrilled that I was able to win,” said Green. “I look forward to continuing the good work of the Aquinnah Department of Health.”

In the planning board race, Issac Taylor (116) and Heidi Vanderhoop (101) prevailed over Jim Mahoney (75).

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