The Chilmark select board last week asked the town’s planning board to draft zoning changes that could allow more community housing on town-owned land. 

On June 4, the select board debated potential amendments to town regulations that currently only allow for one rental of affordable housing on every 1.5 acres of land – limiting the number of units town housing projects can have. 

The board voted 2-1 to start the process of coming up with changes to potentially lower the land per unit requirement as the Island struggles with the ongoing housing crisis. 

The exact number of acres per housing unit has yet to be determined but the planning board has been charged with drawing up a proposal, which would eventually have to be approved by town meeting.  

Select board chair James Malkin said he was looking to start a process that would allow the town – in some instances – greater density to tackle the housing issue. 

Changes to the housing-acreage requirements would affect the proposed Peaked Hill Pastures affordable housing development. The project, which has been in the planning stage for years, was initially slated to have 10 rental units and four ownership units on six acres of land. 

However, the current bylaw only allows for nine units on that amount of land, prompting the potential changes.

“It seems logical that the community housing lots could be anywhere from half an acre to three quarters or less than an acre,” planning board member Peter Cook said.

Jeffrey Maida was the only select board member who voted against this proposal, citing concerns about increased density. 

“I know housing is very important,” Mr. Maida said. “I’m just not a big supporter of density anywhere in town myself.”