Draft housing bank legislation will reach the state legislature unaltered, after Aquinnah became the fourth town to approve sending the 27-page housing bank bill to the state following its approval at all six Island town meetings this spring.

The Aquinnah select board Tuesday voted to follow suit with Chilmark, West Tisbury and Oak Bluffs in choosing not to modify the document before sending it through the legislative process. The initiative has stalled at the state level after Island towns approved it earlier this year, promting the Cape and Islands legislative deligation to suggest the towns significantly alter the document and remove the two per cent real estate transfer tax that works as a funding mechanism.

But towns have pushed back on that request, deciding instead to send it to the state unedited.

“The most important thing now is unity,” said housing bank coalition member John Abrams at the meeting. “By the way, you guys are the fourth town -- and this makes it official.”

The document required the approval of at least four Island towns to be sent to the legislature. At select board meetings in recent weeks, affordable housing officials and advocates laid out options for the towns in handling the document’s future.

Three options were presented to the towns: send the 27-page document to the legislature unmodified, make three minor clerical and clarification amendments to the document, or rework the document entirely, following the recommendation of state legislators to pare it down for expediency in the legislative process.

The Aquinnah select board voted unanimously and with little discussion to approve sending the unmodified document to the legislature.

“And again I want to thank our [affordable housing] committee for working on this and spending their time on this,” select board member Tom Murphy said.

In a phone call with the Gazette Thursday, Sen. Cyr said that decoupling the transfer fee from housing bank draft was intended to ensure that the structure of the housing bank would be in place if legislators passed a statewide local transfer fee along the same lines of the short-term rental tax.

“[Rep. Fernandes and I] were asked to provide feedback and suggest changes so the legislature could move as fast as possible,” he said. “We are in a crisis, Islanders can’t wait another year.”

He said the inclusion of a two-percent transfer tax in the Island’s housing bank legislation could cause complications if the state were to pass its own real estate transfer tax.

“Our intention is to get the housing bank passed as swiftly as possible,” he said. “I’m worried that we may pass a local option, and the Island will be playing catchup.”

In other business Tuesday, the select board continued a conversation with shop owners at the cliffs about renewing and revising leases, all of which expired earlier this year.

At the meeting, some shop owners expressed they would like to keep the existing leases as they prepare their shops for the summer, while the town is working to standardize leases and bring their start and end dates in sync.

“We’re gearing up for next year,” said Berta Welch.

A six-member committee including town officials, shop owners and tribal council members was formed to discuss terms for leases held by the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah), which account for about half the leases at the cliffs. The remaining shop owners, who hold leases directly with the town, will be sent a draft lease for review and discussion.

“Last [meeting] we said we were going to put together a committee,” said select board member Juli Vanderhoop. “And put together a lease that works, hopefully, for everyone.”

Also Tuesday, the select board briefly discussed the future of land bank activity in town. Discussing a letter the town received regarding “co-operative ventures,” town administrator Jeffrey Madison mentioned that the town should begin to think broadly about whether further land bank purchases are appropriate.

“We have tremendous acreage in the town that has been removed from the tax base permanently,” Mr. Madison said.

“We have a small town here I think we have the largest portion of land in conservation,” Mr. Murphy added. “I think that discussion is a bigger discussion that we should have I don’t think that it’s appropriate to comment today until we have the information.”

The select board also approved the start of the family shellfishing season beginning immediately, and slated the start of the commercial season for Dec. 5.

Thomas Humphrey contributed reporting.