Chilmark selectmen are now considering a new plan for leasing out the town-owned house at Tea Lane Farm.
On Tuesday town counsel Ronald H. Rappaport outlined three options for the town — sell the property, issue a short-term or a long-term lease.
Selectmen are considering the next steps after voters rejected a third plan to restore and renovate the 18th century farmhouse for $550,000 at a special town meeting last month.
Mr. Rappaport and selectman Frank Fenner also consulted with the state historic commission.
The town jointly owns the property with the Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank, which controls the surrounding farmland. The town has oversight over the house, which it intends to lease out to a tenant farmer. But the renovation costs have been an obstacle for voters.
Mr. Rappaport told the selectmen they would have a difficult time selling the house because the purchase was for conservation. “Sale is a long and difficult process and I think won’t provide any immediate benefits,” Mr. Rappaport said.
So discussion focused on ways to lease the property. The town could perform initial repairs including heating, plumbing, electrical work, removing lead paint and securing the foundation, and lease the house out from five to 30 years, Mr. Rappaport said.
The other option is to lease the house as is with a 99-year term. Mr. Rappaport said a two-thirds vote at the annual town meeting would probably be needed because a 99-year lease is tantamount to ownership.
Selectman Warren Doty said this new direction would change the applicant pool.
“Farming is undergoing dynamic change on Martha’s Vineyard . . . it’s too strong to say a revolution is happening, but big change is going in farming today — a lot of people have different ideas about it and there’s a lot happening . . . When you’re talking about the farmhouse you’re talking about mortgages. It will be a very different applicant than some of the people who would have applied before,” he said.
“If they can afford to raise sheep they can afford to get a mortgage,” Mr. Fenner added with a laugh.
A cost-benefit analysis will be prepared and the farm planning committee will be reinstated in the coming weeks.
In other business, the selectmen set the commercial bay scallop season to begin Nov. 1 in Menemsha Pond and Dec. 1 in Nashaquitsa Pond. All scalloping is prohibited in Quitsa Pond until Dec. 1 to protect the seed.
The recreational oyster season opens Nov. 2 and the commercial season opens Dec. 5 in Tisbury Great Pond.
The selectmen will hold a special meeting on Tuesday with the U.S. Coast Guard design team to discuss the plans for the new Menemsha Coast Guard boathouse. The meeting begins at 7 p.m.