Following months of negotiations and an hour-long executive session on Tuesday night, Chilmark selectmen announced a plan to purchase a .72 acre lot off Tabor House Road. The purchase will allow the town to go forward with plans to build the Middle Line Road affordable housing project.
According to the plan, which is subject to approval from voters, the town will buy the lot from Beverly Gillis Jaksa for $275,000. The purchase will allow the town to create a new access road to the affordable housing project from Tabor House Road.
“We think this is a good purchase,” selectman and board chairman Warren Doty said on Tuesday. “We hope town meeting will agree with us.” Selectmen will call a special town meeting within 60 days to vote on the transaction.
In June 2007, selectmen went before the town planning board and the Martha’s Vineyard Commission with a preliminary plan (form B) for a nine-building, 12 unit affordable housing project on the 21.4-acre site off Middle Line Road. Plans call for six residential, single family homesites and six duplex units.
Both the planning board and the commission approved the initial plan, but both expressed concern over whether the current access road is adequate.
Middle Line Road, now used regularly by only one or two families, sits just off a bend in Tabor House Road. Cars turning onto the road often cannot see other cars approaching. The acquisition of the Jaksa lot will allow selectmen to reroute the access road more than 150 feet away from the bend. “The land there is flat,” selectman J.B. Riggs Parker said following the meeting. “The view won’t be obstructed and you will see cars coming from the north. It is a much safer entrance.”
Mr. Parker said without the acquisition of a new entrance, the project could not have gone forward. “This will resolve their concerns,” he said of the planning board and the commission.
Selectmen also voted Tuesday to acquire, if possible, a lot adjacent to the Jaksa property currently owned by the Jenkinson and Emin families. Middle Line Road travels over the property.
Selectmen said Tuesday they were still in negotiations over the possible acquisition. They did not yet know whether an article concerning the property would appear on the special town meeting warrant.
If the town does buy the land it would allow a patch of open land between the affordable housing project and the capped landfill and would permit a walking trail joining Holman and Middle Line Roads with the road to Peaked Hill.
At the close of the meeting, selectmen voted to submit a definitive plan to the planning board for approval. The planning board will then refer the plan to the commission for review as a development of regional impact.
In keeping with the theme of the evening, selectmen also announced the official name for another affordable housing project in town. Approved by town voters in an October special town meeting, the project, which will create four affordable housing lots off of South Road, will be named Nab’s Corner Homesite.
The name is a nod to Abigail Dunham, known as Nab. Ms. Dunham was the owner, in the 1700s, of an inn and unlicensed tavern in town, a place where sailors might stop for a drink and a warm bed before heading back out to sea.
The exact location of the inn is not known, but the second volume of Banks’ History of Martha’s Vineyard describes the corner in this way: “The junction of the Chilmark-Tisbury line and the South road has borne this name for over a century. It derived its name from one Abigail Dunham, single woman, who lived near there, before 1800, and achieved considerable notoriety during her life.”
Selectmen also appointed John Maloney and Frank LoRusso to the finance committee.