Affordable Housing Trust Signs $2.75 Million Purchase And Sale Agreement For Bartlett Road Property

The Nantucket Affordable Housing Trust voted unanimously on Tuesday to sign a $2.75 million purchase and sale agreement to acquire a nearly vacant three-quarter-acre lot at 12 and 12R Bartlett Road for an affordable housing development. 

A closing date for the sale was set for Feb. 15. The seller is an LLC known as “Bear Vault” that is registered to Texas resident Margaret Holland.

There is no formal plan to develop the site yet, but Nantucket municipal housing director Tucker Holland (no relation) said that given the existing zoning, the Trust could build up to 12 units at the location, which is currently vacant with the exception of an old garage structure.

The deal marked the latest in a flurry of acquisitions by the Affordable Housing Trust over the past two years utilizing the war chest it amassed through the Neighborhood First program funding and other affordable housing monies endorsed by voters at recent Town Meetings. 

The Neighborhood First program, spearheaded by former Select Board members Rick Atherton and Tobias Glidden, received $20 million in taxpayer dollars with strong support at the 2019 Annual Town Meeting. The funds were dedicated to create additional affordable workforce housing inventory around the island.

Since then, the Trust has utilized Neighborhood First funds to acquire and/or provide funds for other organizations to develop the following properties for affordable housing: 

  • 135-137 Orange Street: $3.5 million
  • 31 Fairgrounds Road, Coffin property, $10.35 million
  • 18 Vesper Lane, UMass Boston dorm property, $2.6 million
  • 12 & 12 R Bartlett Road: $2.75 million

“Our whole principle around the Neighborhood First monies is we want to be doing projects within local zoning,” Holland said. “All of these projects we’re intending to do at Fairgrounds, UMass, Bartlett Road, we want to do what can responsibly and appropriately within the local zoning, so it’s meeting the character of the neighborhood as zoning allows for.”

According to the town’s website, the underlying mission of the Neighborhood First program is “to facilitate the creation of adequate affordable housing stock in order to comply with Safe Harbor provisions” and “to meet or exceed the requirement that 10% of the island’s year round housing inventory be available for low- and moderate-income households.”

Holland told the Current that the program is fulfilling that mission and meeting the goals set out for Neighborhood First when it was approved by voters at Town Meeting. 

“I’m very pleased with how everything has gone,” Holland said. “We’ve been able to acquire these scattered site properties, which is part of what folks were looking for. The ability, like with 31 Fairgrounds Road, to contribute to our current period of safe harbor, that was an overriding aspect of the original Neighborhood First article. We now have a  runway to continue the progress and honor these goals.”

Another property at 8 White Street was acquired by the Trust last month with $1.2 million in funding approved through Article 10 at this year’s Annual Town Meeting.

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