An unprecedented example of a community-driven affordable housing project.
Located on the Island of Martha’s Vineyard off the coast of Massachusetts, the project addresses the extraordinary demand for affordable family housing in the Town of Edgartown. Like many seaside communities, Edgartown’s economy is driven primarily by seasonal tourism – catering mostly to wealthy summer visitors. This influx of affluent part-time residents forces real estate prices higher and higher so that most full-time residents cannot afford to buy or rent a home year-round.
In 2004, The Community Builders, Inc. (TCB) was selected by the Town of Edgartown to undertake the development of this 60-unit project to be built on 12-acres of land assembled and donated by the Town. Under the State's Chapter 40B zoning laws, TCB worked closely with the members of the Board of Selectman, local businesses, the regional housing authority, and many full-time residents to put in place the zoning and permits necessary to support this large-scale project. From the regional zoning process through construction administration, TCB encouraged members of the community to remain interested and involved in this ground-breaking project. The result is a vibrant new community of full-time residents who live and work together on the Island they will continue to call home year-round. As the largest affordable housing development in the Island's long history, the 60 units at Morgan Woods alone more than doubled the total stock of year-round affordable housing units in Edgartown.
The site-design approach for Morgan Woods uses “cluster development” principles. This concept breaks down the overall scale of the project to promote a sense of small neighborhoods within the development as opposed to large multi-family buildings or sub-division layouts that are more typical in a development of this scale. The site is organized around three clusters of housing units arranged around landscaped "commons" that are reminiscent of a traditional New England town center. The architectural treatment is not only appropriate given the surrounding community, but also strengthens the overall aesthetic of the neighborhood.
"I think we can characterize Morgan Woods as a complete success…We have a real sense of community out there - you can see that when you drive through in the evening and see neighbors socializing with each other or sitting on their front porches."
—Alan Gowell, Chairman, Edgartown Affordable Housing Committee