MVC Efforts in Affordable and Community Housing

Housing - MVC Efforts in HousingAs a regional planning agency, the Commission provides the Island towns with technical assistance, grant writing, and planning expertise. The Martha’s Vineyard Commission, the Island’s regional planning agency, provides planning expertise and technical assistance.

Recent and Current Documents

  • Martha’s Vineyard Housing Needs Assessment: The 2020 Housing Needs Assessment is organized into three parts:
    • Assessment of the Island’s Housing Needs: A town-by-town and Island-wide analysis of demographic, economic, and housing characteristics and trends, and examination of market conditions and affordability.
    • Profile of the Island’s Housing Providers: An assessment of past initiatives and the organizations behind them.
    • The Path Ahead: Recommendations for addressing the Island’s most pressing housing needs.

The needs assessment documents the progress in addressing the Island’s affordable housing needs but says that much more work is needed to adequately address the present and future affordable housing needs of the Island particularly the 65 plus aging demographic.

For a historical perspective, review the 2013 MV Housing Needs Assessment.  Here is a link to the four-page Highlights of the 2013 study and here is a link to its 26-page Summary Findings.

  • Affordable and Community Housing Zoning Analysis on Martha's Vineyard: This 2014 study was prepared by the Martha's Vineyard Commission in collaboration with town affordable housing committees, Island housing organizations, and the Healthy Aging Task Force Housing Work Group. The purpose is to assist town boards, local decision makers, civic and community/business leaders, and residents to re-examine zoning with an eye to producing a diverse range of housing types. It is currently in draft form awaiting town review
  • Martha's Vineyard Island Plan The housing section of the 2009 regional plan suggests continuing effort is still needed to allow the Vineyard to respond to the pressing housing needs that are simply not by the private market.  This should favor creating more affordable and community housing units with existing housing stock or through new construction.  New projects should preferably be located in growth areas outlined in the Land Use Guidance Plan but the challenge is so great that we have to be prepared to accept projects throughout the Island. Also we should look for ways to help affordable and community housing projects, deal with the costs of meeting wastewater treatment, energy efficiency, and other objectives outlined in the Island Plan. 

Recent Workshops

  • Chapter 40B Comprehensive Permit Law On Wednesday, July 17, 2019 the Joint Affordable Housing Group hosted Laura Shufelt from Mass Housing Partnership (MHP) and Judi Barrett from Barrett Planning Group for a workshop on the Comprehensive Permit Law, Chapter 40B. The workshop primarily focused on the roles and responsibilities of the local Zoning Board of Appeals, but was also valuable to the representatives of other Town Boards that attended. The presentation covered an overview of M.G.L. Ch. 40B Statute, guided attendees through MHP's Ch. 40B Handbook, and also included a thorough review of the Comprehensive Permit process, Project Eligibility Letters, and the State's Subsidized Housing Inventory.
  • Community Resiliency by Design On May 8, 2019, the Joint Affordable Housing Group hosted Heather Harper, Chief of Staff for the Cape Cod Commission, who gave a presentation on creative approaches to density for multi-family and mixed use development, discussed Form Based Zoning and visual design tools to help create housing opportunities.

Earlier Studies and Reports

  • Preserving Community: The 2001 Housing Needs Assessment, describes the housing needs and identified an Island-wide consensus to solving the housing crisis that could no longer be ignored. The report went on to point out that wealth was concentrating at an accelerating pace, driving up housing prices, fueling the demand for lower paying service and retail jobs, and decreasing year-round housing availability. It set an objective of developing 100 to 150 affordable housing units per year.

Other MVC Efforts Related to Housing

  • Joint Affordable Housing Group: The JAHG has met quarterly since 2005, convened by the MVC, and bringing together representatives of town affordable housing committees, Island housing organizations, and interested individuals to coordinate Island-wide support for addressing housing needs as well as implementing housing-related strategies from the 2009 Island Plan. 

  • Community Development Block Grants: For the past four years the MVC has assisted the six Island towns in drafting Community Development Strategies (CDS) as required by the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Applications, prepared by Bailey Boyd Associates.  The CDBG funds have enabled the towns to serve residents with the greatest need for housing assistance for housing rehabilitation. The MVC has also assisted local and state leaders by organizing and drafting letters of community concern in opposition to DHCD proposed policy changes that would have eliminated the Cape and Islands from participating in the CDBG Programs



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The Stone Building
33 New York Avenue
Oak Bluffs, MA 02557

Telephone: 508-693-3453
Fax: 508-693-7894

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Martha's Vineyard Commission
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