Island housing advocates have formed a working group to redraft stalled housing bank legislation in the hopes that it can pass at the state level.

At a meeting Wednesday, the Housing Bank Review Committee appointed Oak Bluffs representative Mark Leonard and Tisbury representative Rachel Orr to the working group, and recommended that district director for state Sen. Julian Cyr, Michael Holcomb be included in the process.

The formation of the group comes after the Cape and Islands state legislative delegation pitched changes to the draft housing bank home rule petition to help facilitate its state-level passage last week. Among other things, Sen. Cyr and state Rep. Dylan Fernandes recommended removing the two per cent real estate transfer tax from the draft because legislators intend to file a broader, statewide transfer tax during the next legislative session.

The state legislators recommended keeping most of the language and structure of the housing bank more broadly, but localizing it so that changes wouldn’t have to be amended at the state level.

The housing bank review committee was formed after a 2022 vote from all six Island towns to establish a housing bank based on a two percent transfer fee tax on real estate sale over $1 million. It is composed of representatives from each Island town, with a mandate to make minor changes to the draft before it is submitted to the state.

That mandate was a topic of discussion on Wednesday night, when committee members questioned if the proposed changes fell under the committee’s purview.

“Within the warrant, how much leeway do we have?” wondered West Tisbury rep Jessica Miller. “How far can we go on our own?”

Oak Bluffs rep Mark Leonard emphasized the fact that the actual content the draft would be largely preserved, while the structure would be reshuffled: “I understand your concern, but I say we are doing the same thing.”

The committee determined to move forward with the draft changes. All proposed changes from the committee will come before each town’s select boards. Discussion on public input they received on the draft legislation will occur during meetings next Tuesday and Wednesday.

The committee hopes to bring a revised draft document before each of the town select boards by the first week of December, before it is sent off to the state.

Updated to reflect that Michael Holcomb was not officially appointed to the working group.