West Tisbury voters will weigh in on 13 articles at a special town meeting next month, after the town select board voted to approve the warrant Wednesday. 

The special town meeting is scheduled to take place Nov. 14 at 6 p.m. at the West Tisbury school. 

Headlining the warrant is funding for a new housing pilot program. The article will ask for $250,000 to encourage people to build affordable housing on their property.

The program would give $25,000 forgivable loans for the pre-construction costs of building an accessory dwelling unit. It was slated to be on the annual town meeting warrant, but the select board pulled the article after determining it was not ready to go to town meeting floor. 

At the select board meeting on Oct. 11, town treasurer Katherine Logue and accountant Bruce Stone both raised concerns about whether the article, developed by the affordable housing committee, could be funded by transfer or borrowing. 

“If this article were to go forward as is, it raises a lot of questions about the source of funding,” said Ms. Logue, who also voiced concerns about the impact such an appropriation would have on the town tax rate. 

“It puts the tax rate 1.3 per cent over what we approved,” she said.

The board made no changes to the accessory dwelling unit article, which is now moving to town legal counsel for review. 

“We all understand the concern,” said select board member Jessica Miller, who said the board would refer the funding questions to town counsel. 

Another article will have voters consider whether to petition the state legislature for a change in the town’s housing trust rules, allowing them to award affordable housing to higher income levels in town. 

While the trust is currently restricted to provide affordable housing to people making up to 100 per cent of the area median income, this home rule petition would raise that to 150 per cent.

The proposal is intended to make a wider swath of town residents eligible for affordable housing to account for high cost-of-living on the Island.

The town’s affordable housing committee also submitted a third article, a petition to change the Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank founding legislation. The article would require a housing committee representative on its town advisory boards, but the select board voted to remove the article from the warrant.  

“I think they went about it all wrong,” said board member Jeffrey (Skipper) Manter, adding that a modification to the land bank should only be undertaken by coordinating with the other towns.

“I was shocked when it came up,” he said. “I don’t think it’s appropriate for the special town meeting.”

Also at the meeting, voters will take up a series of smaller funding requests, including $20,000 to the town legal budget and $25,000 to the zoning board legal budget.