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Housing Minutes 2-19-14
Dukes County Health Council
Healthy Aging Task Force

Housing Work Group
February 19, 2014

DRAFT Meeting Minutes

Present: Jessica Burgoyne, Christine Flynn, Abe Seaman, Peter Temple (Convener), Richard Toole, David Vigneault, Ann Wallace

Absent: Cathlin Baker, Esther Hopkins, Philippe Jordi, Marina Lent, Mark London

Proposed Agenda:
1.  Continued discussion about relationship between HA Housing Workgroup and JAHG.
2.  Work on work plan for 2014 (priorities, goals, strategies, responsibilities, timetable).
3.  New Business (other)
  • The meeting was called to order at 3:07. A quorum was present.
  • The minutes from the January 15, 2014 meeting were reviewed:
  • Christine Flynn said the second bullet on Page 2 should be amended to reflect that she has met with all Town Planning Boards and Housing Committees except for Edgartown, (which will be done in February) and that she made a presentation on the Housing Needs Assessment only (she did not provide them with the 4 page summary).
  • David Vigneault elaborated on his comments in the third bullet of page 2 and emphasized that UD is really easy to do and low cost when done in new construction.
  • Wallace made a motion to approve the minutes as amended. It was seconded by Seaman and passed unanimously.
  • Temple noted that the minutes from the January meeting seemed to indicate that there were more reasons to keep the HA Housing Workgroup and the JAHG as separate groups than for combining them and asked if anyone had any new points. There was some discussion that although the scope of their missions is different, meeting together was very convenient and that during the next year their plans were both focused on the same goals. Flynn made a motion that the groups remain separate/keep their respective identities but meet together when their agendas are similar so the number of meetings is kept to a minimum. Wallace seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
  • The group then addressed the plan. After a broad discussion of needs, strategy and tactics the group reviewed the charges they were given by the Healthy Aging Task Force Coordinating Committee and set the following priorities:
  •  The top 2 priorities short term are to:
  • Get all towns to adopt zoning regulations addressing Universal Design, accessory apartments/units for family elders or elder workforce/caregivers and multifamily/multi-unit and intergenerational housing.
  • Educate the public and build the political support necessary to get these important changes approved.
  • Longer term and lower priorities are:
  • Programs to retrofit homes will be developed after specific zoning regulations are adopted by the towns.
  • Efforts to expand affordable elder housing become a longer term goal since HUD no longer has funds to build new elder housing. There are limited HUD funds to renovate or add medical services to existing elder housing but itís not clear if reducing the number of available elder housing units to increase the number of assisted living units is in the Islandís best interest. The workgroup will explore other sources of State and Federal funding for affordable elder/intergenerational housing and are researching options (including Farmerís Home) with input from Gagnier Hicks Associates (Boston based Housing Consultant for IEH HUD-funded developments).  
  • The group then started identifying the elements of the plan and the timetable. The goal is to have all 6 towns adopt zoning bylaws addressing UD, Accessory Units and multifamily/intergenerational housing by their 2015 Annual Town Meetings. David Vigneault already has sample language drafted for UD that addresses door widths, thresholds and ground floor bathrooms. The MVC already has sample bylaw language for accessory and multifamily/intergenerational housing. Although the language is drafted the group recognized that to get all the Towns to adopt changes, we need to be very strategic in how and when the Towns are approached (and when we go public with the effort): “we really need to do our homework before going to the towns. We also need to have realistic expectations (not all may adopt at the same time…some may wait to see what others do first). Chilmark already plans to add some accessory unit language at a Special Town meeting this fall. The group decided that the first step should be to talk informally about the need and the concepts with some key people in each Town to see if we can get them on board and to get some feedback on the opportunities/barriers we face. We can then decide in what order to approach the towns. We also want to identify specific teams of people to represent the HATF at the formal meetings/presentations to each townís Planning Board, Housing Committee, Health Agents, Selectmen etc. (maximize the political power of the group for each town). We will give the Towns the sample language but let them develop their own bylaws, offering assistance if they want it. The group agreed that some articles in the paper/public education on the need/benefits would be helpful, especially to build broad voter support before Town Meetings, but not so early in our work with the Towns that it looks like we are trying to force something on them. It was also suggested that we see what the State plans for changes in the building code around UD (early acceptance by the State would help a lot).
  • Temple agreed to put together the workgroupís draft plan but asked if other members could work on the pert chart/timeline for our plan and also put together some hard data from the housing needs assessment about how island elders are currently housed. Wallace agreed to do the hard data and Flynn agreed to work on the timeline.
  • There was no new business for the workgroup but there was general agreement that there was an island wide problem clearing snow and ice from sidewalks and this was a major problem for elders. A proposal was made to contact the hospital to see if there was a big increase in snow/ice related injuries and to get the newspapers to address this editorially.
  • The group agreed that the next meeting will be the third Wednesday in March ñMarch 19th, at 3:00 p.m. at the MVC conference room and it will be a joint HA Housing and JAHG meeting to do further work on the plan for 2014/2015.
  • There being no other business, on a motion made by Seaman that was seconded by Wallace, the meeting adjourned at 4:05.
Respectfully submitted,
Peter Temple

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