"Fights over affordable housing on the Vineyard are different from disputes in other places, where such projects can improve blighted neighborhoods. On the island, where land costs start at $500,000 an acre, opponents often object because such projects can bring down property values.
Bennett's plan for Cozy Hearth, a nonprofit development, were initially approved in 2005 by the Martha's Vineyard Commission, a planning agency that extracted unusual concessions. It required Bennett to install composting toilets to reduce sewer run-off to nearby Oyster Pond. It also increased the number of houses set aside as affordable from three to eight, far exceeding state law, which requires one-quarter of houses in a project be affordable.
Bennett agreed to give three houses to Edgartown to award to residents as affordable. Another three would be for construction of market-rate houses: One for Bennett, who plans to give his property away; one for his father-in-law; and one for a Canadian doctor whose family lives on the island, he said."