Two Aquinnah families won the right to buy affordable homes in a lottery held at a packed meeting of the town selectmen Tuesday.

Built by the Island Housing Trust, the two-bedroom homes at Smalley’s Knoll were open to applicants earning 100 per cent or less of the area median income.

Taylor and Sarah Ives were in the room when their names came out of the lottery drum. Mr. Ives thrust his infant son Louie up into the air, where the burst of cheering from neighbors and friends in the close knit community briefly scared the child into a crying fit.

“It’s our favorite place in the world and now we own a part of it,” said Ms. Ives.

“We both grew up here,” said Mr. Ives, holding a much happier child a few minutes after the lottery drawing. “It’s amazing to be able to have our own piece of it, where our son can experience the beauty of Aquinnah.”

Also winning the right to purchase a home were James and Nancy Benoit and their daughter Laina.

The Benoit family, Aquinnah residents for the past 20 years, has been through affordable housing lotteries before.

“This is our fourth,” said Ms. Benoit. “It’s a hard process, you just don’t know how it’s going to turn out. It can be very discouraging, too, because it can be years between them. We’re so happy we can stay in this town.”

Applicants went through an extensive mortgage pre-qualification process and verification with the Dukes County Regional Housing Authority, which oversees the lottery. They must now finish the process of securing financing with a bank. The cost of the homes is $255,000.

Ten families and individuals qualified for the lottery.

Preference was given to Aquinnah families of two or more, followed by Aquinnah single residents and families of two or more living outside of town.

“It’s partially a sign of a healthy community, and partially a sign of an Island that needs housing,” said Island Housing Trust project manager Derrill Bazzy.

In other business Tuesday, selectmen heard two sides of a bitter dispute over the lease of town-owned lots in Menemsha.

Vernon Welch said he wanted to inform selectmen of improvements he wanted to make to a lot, including replacing pilings and building railings, before applying to other town and state agencies for permits.

But Wendy Swolinzky said the lot is currently the subject of litigation in Dukes County superior court.

“Until it’s settled, I don’t think you want an alteration that you could end up paying to remove,” she said.

Selectmen agreed to refer the matter to town counsel.

The board also discussed improvements to the Aquinnah Circle area.

Theresa Manning, who operates a seasonal restaurant near the Cliffs, said the area was not ready for an influx of tourists on the Memorial Day holiday weekend. She noted a lack of fresh paint on railings, a lack of signs and poor condition of the bathrooms.

“The bathrooms are terrible,” Ms. Manning said. “It’s messy in there. I don’t want to be the one complaining, I want to find a solution. I feel like as a town we can do better.”

Selectmen agreed to convene a working group next week to plan improvements and identify funding.

Town administrator Jeffrey Madison raised the possibility of forming a policy for the use of town property. His complaint stemmed from the apparent use of town hall chairs for local events, both public and private.

“We’re losing chairs,” Mr. Madison said. “The chairs are disappearing. I don’t know what’s happening.”