A 20-unit affordable housing development on State Road in Vineyard Haven that includes nine acres of protected conservation land is now complete, providing housing security for about 50 Islanders as residents plan to move in this month.

After a seven-year development cycle, Island Housing Trust held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday for Kuehn’s Way — the largest affordable housing project to be built on the Vineyard in more than a decade.

“It really couldn’t have come any sooner for the 50 or more residents who will be moving in,” Island Housing Trust founding director Philippe Jordi told the Gazette in a phone call this week.

Dubbed a “pocket neighborhood” by the nonprofit affordable housing developer, the development includes 20 housing units divided among 10 duplexes. The properties are located off State Road in Vineyard Haven. In what Mr. Jordi called a conservation-based affordable housing partnership, the development sits on a 15-acre parcel with nine acres conserved by the Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank.

“It’s really, we feel like, a model on the Vineyard of what we can do,” Mr. Jordi said.

Island Housing Trust first purchased the 15-acre property in 2015. After a lengthy permitting process and delays due to the pandemic, the project broke ground in June of 2021.

A lottery for the rental units was held earlier this year by the Dukes County Regional Housing Authority and the rental property manager, The Community Builders, according to Mr. Jordi. The property includes three one-bedroom apartments, fourteen two-bedroom apartments and a trio of three-bedroom apartments. Rents for 18 of the apartments are set at 80 per cent of the area median income, with one one-bedroom leased at $1,469 per month, the two-bedrooms at $1,769 per month and the three-bedrooms at $2,043 per month. The two other one-bedroom apartments will be supported with state rental vouchers for incomes up to 30 per cent of the area median income.

According to documents from Island Housing Trust, 80 per cent of the area median income in Dukes County is about $60,000 for a single-person household.

Paid for by more than $8 million in state, philanthropic and community preservation funds, the development also boasts environmentally-conscious features like nitrogen-reducing septic technology, solar panels and insulation and airflow designed for energy efficiency. Mr. Jordi said the efficiency measures could save residents thousands of dollars per year in electricity costs, adding that each unit has the potential for net-zero energy consumption.

“We’ve built these houses to a very high standard in terms of energy efficiency,” Mr. Jordi said.

Constructed by Amesbury-based contractor CapeBuilt, Mr. Jordi said just final occupancy permits stand between residents and their new homes. He said residents should be able to move into the development within the month.

“The [housing] market’s dried up,” Mr. Jordi said. “This represents a glimmer of hope.”

The development is named after Bob Kuehn, a longtime Vineyard affordable housing advocate who served on the state’s advisory board for the Community Preservation Act coalition and on the national advisory board of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Reflecting on the project’s arduous development process, Mr. Jordi said the last seven years of work resulted in victories for the Island in conservation, environmental protection and housing security.

“What we’re trying to do is create a model so that people see there is value in investing in these neighborhoods,” Mr. Jordi said. “We’re looking forward to welcoming a new neighborhood of residents this month.”