Plans are emerging for a proposed housing development in Edgartown with the potential to transform one of the Island’s busiest intersections.

Atwood Company, a regional developer founded by private equity investor William Cumming, is putting together an application to build 64 apartments on three acres on Upper Main street, where Donaroma’s Nursery, Landscaping and Floral Design currently operates. Donaroma’s, which employs more than 100 people, plans to move most of its operation away from the triangle to a 19-acre parcel on the Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road across from Norton Farm that is now under construction.

The housing project, dubbed Edgartown Gardens, is being proposed as a Chapter 40B development, a state designation that provides for a streamlined permit process and more flexible zoning rules for developments that devote at least 20 percent of their units to low- and moderate-income families.

The Edgartown Gardens proposal calls for 80 per cent of the 64 units to be restricted to people older than 55. Twenty per cent of the units would not have age restrictions. Three-quarters of the entire project would be market rate homes and the other quarter would be for people who make below 80 per cent of the area median income.

Schematic of proposed 40B development by the Atwood Company. — Courtesy Atwood Company

Mr. Cumming, who was raised in Edgartown, worked in private equity and real estate and spent 20 years at CitiGroup, said the proposal’s age restrictions were designed to fill a need on the Island, which has been struggling with a housing crisis for years. In 2017, Mr. Cumming donated land on Old Courthouse Road in West Tisbury to Island Housing Trust for what is planned to be Island teacher housing.

“We’re pursuing the housing stock that’s most needed,” Mr. Cumming said in an interview with the Gazette. “It’ll give people a chance to downsize, and that means houses that are freed up.”

Mr. Cumming said there was also a need for more mixed-use development close to essential services, creating a walkable community that in turn could reduce traffic in the highly congested area. To that end, Mr. Cumming said he offered Michael Donaroma, the owner of Donaroma’s Nursery, a sublease on the parcel Mr. Cumming leases from James Norton across from Norton Farm.

That allows Mr. Donaroma to move his wholesale and industrial work from Edgartown, leaving two acres behind the Donaroma’s retail space free. The storefront would remain open.

“As we all know, affordable housing is really needed,” Mr. Donaroma, an Edgartown select board member, said, adding that he felt it was time to “move on” from his Edgartown location.

Michael Donaroma at his new location in Oak Bluffs. — Ray Ewing

Island Food Products owns an acre of land that makes up the rest of the project site. Mr. Cumming said Mr. Donaroma, himself, and representatives from Island Food Products, will participate in a new Edgartown Gardens LLC purchasing all three acres.

John Roberts, the co-owner of Island Food Products, said the land was “basically a vacant lot” when Mr. Cumming approached him and his partner, Alan Bresnick, about using the development.

“We’re in the food business, Mike’s in the flower business...William’s the driving force, but he asks for our input where we can [add it],” Mr. Roberts said.

“If we can put our land to use in a productive way, we’re happy to do that,” he said.

Still in its early stages, the project’s first order of business is to commission a traffic study of the area. The Martha’s Vineyard Commission’s land use planning committee gave Atwood Company the thumbs up to start a traffic study last week.

“You couldn’t have picked a more congested spot on the Island,” commissioner Doug Sederholm said during the planning committee meeting on Oct. 2.

Land on Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road is still owned by the Norton family. — Ray Ewing

The company has not officially applied to the commission, but has talked to both the commission and Edgartown about the process. Mr. Cumming said the developer is planning to apply to MassHousing for a Chapter 40B designation within the next 30 days.

Commission staff members said many of the details of the project could change as it progresses through the permitting process. The traffic study, a prerequisite, is expected to look at the location, crash and safety data, speed limits and other data points.

“We’re looking at a heavy analysis at several intersections that are considered problematic out here,” said Mike

Mauro, the Martha’s Vineyard Commission’s transportation planner.

The former Sharky’s Cantina building, which is slated to reopen as a new restaurant, would remain, as would the Bad Martha’s building, according to Mr. Cumming.

The two roads that enter the restaurants would be merged as one, and Atwood is proposing creating a new exit onto Chase Road from the back of the property.

“We want to reduce the traffic back on to the main street,” Mr. Cumming told the land use planning committee. “That will be contentious but we think it’s the right thing to do.”

Putting housing within a walkable distance to most of the downtown, as well as moving the majority of Donaroma’s business to the property next to Eversource, could actually reduce traffic to the area, Mr. Cumming suggested.

“We are trying to recognize all the traffic that’s created by the business,” Mr. Cumming said.