Developer Xerxes Agassi, whose original mixed-use plan for 4 State Road in downtown Vineyard Haven was turned down by the Martha’s Vineyard Commission in 2022, has won the commission’s approval for a revised project with deed-restricted condominiums for working Islanders.

One of the apartments, restricted to people making up to 150 per cent of the area minimum income, will be reserved for municipal employees. MVC housing planner Laura Silber said this will be a first for the Island. 

State law currently prohibits such preferences in town and public housing, she said, but municipalities are seeking to change that and Mr. Agassi’s private proposal could help make their case.

“The town of Tisbury has made a formal request to the commission to help advance this type of housing, this type of preference, [because] they currently cannot create this on their own,” Ms. Silber said before the commission’s vote May 2.

“Accepting this offer would give the opportunity to … provide a model that we could show to the state going forward,” she said.

The approved 4 State Road project has 14 residences in all, with 10 restricted to year-round workers at rates tied to their incomes. 

In addition to the unit for municipal workers, a second income-restricted apartment is for residents earning up to 80 per cent of the area minimum. The other eight have no further restrictions. None may be sublet or rented.

Four of the residential condominiums and all three of the building’s commercial units, located below street level on what the plan refers to as the ground floor, will be priced at market rates.

The project will add 13,062 square feet to the original 7,920-square foot building, built in 1929 for New England Telephone and later the longtime home of the Educomp office and computer store.

Commissioners Ben Robinson and Michael Kim voted against the proposal last week, against nine commissioners in favor.

Mr. Robinson said he wanted Mr. Agassi to add retail to the development’s main floor, where Educomp was located.

“I would have voted yes … but I really feel the fabric of a commercial district is important to preserve,” he said.

Mr. Kim said he was voting no because it’s unclear from Tisbury’s zoning bylaws whether “ground floor” refers to the main floor of the building or the future lower level with commercial units.

“I ... hope the planning board of Tisbury can improve the ground floor regulations,” Mr. Kim said.

The project still needs to get local approvals in Tisbury. 

Also on May 2, the commission held a public hearing on subdivision plans for the late Edo Potter’s Pimpneymouse Farm on Chappaquiddick, which her family has owned for nearly 100 years.

Ms. Potter’s son Stephen Potter said the plan preserves more than 80 per cent of the 217-acre farm, including four of six buildable lots, retaining two lots for family use.

“We have agreed that there will be no further subdivision,” Mr. Potter said.

The Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank and Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation will each acquire more than 80 acres of the largely undeveloped property, and the family will also conserve 13 acres of the property it retains, Mr. Potter said.

Ms. Potter, a well-known Island environmentalist, sailor and equestrian, was a member of the inaugural Martha’s Vineyard Commission established in 1974. She died in 2018.

The commission will take written testimony on the Pimpneymouse application until 5 p.m. May 9. 

Commissioners also agreed on May 2 to hear a proposal to demolish the former Prada family home on Katama Road in Edgartown, which was referred to the MVC by town officials because it is well over 100 years old and located outside the historic district.