To the editor: The need for increased housing choices and more affordability is not a new story on Nantucket. Neither are the concerns that are raised any time a proposal – such as Surfside Crossing – tries to address that need with a multi-unit project. There are many parts of that debate that are productive. The Surfside Crossing project has a better design, offers more homeownership options, does a better job maintaining open space and has added sustainability features because of that feedback.
What’s not productive are comments like those of Meghan Perry in last week’s letters that use false claims to obstruct the project, instead of doing everything possible to assure that it benefits our community. In fact, it’s exactly her type of extremist NIMBY opposition that lead to the creation of Chapter 40B to begin with. I’m glad that Surfside Crossing’s recent video looked “lovely”. But that’s a reflection of a great project that has been designed to benefit our year- round community. As a result, we have seen many residents, local business owners and non- profits come to understand that Surfside Crossing helps address a critical need. By the way, none of the people featured in our recent video have a financial stake in the project, though they do know that it will make it easier for their co-workers to afford a home on the island, their businesses to recruit talent, and their community to have choices.
One thing the letter did get right: the project’s 39 affordable units are indeed what is required of the 40B affordable housing statute. What it missed completely was the entire point of the video: our team is exploring a wide variety of possible options to make sure that two-thirds of the remaining market units are either deed restricted for year-round residents, have income requirements associated with their purchase or take other approaches for affordability. The other point of the video: many different types of people who love Nantucket understand that additional year-round residents can and should benefit from this project, if we work together to make it happen.
Thank you to those who have looked at a project you may have initially opposed, and now say – let’s work together to make it more impactful. I want to assure you, that’s exactly our current orientation and we hope you will join us.