Not in my HUGE back yard! 156-unit low-income housing project sparks outrage in billionaire’s playground Nantucket – where Blackstone CEO Stephen Schwarzman and former Secretary of State John Kerry spend their summers
- Plans to build an affordable housing project on Nantucket, Surfside Crossing, were first submitted in April 2018, and have been hotly contested ever since
- Developers want to create 156 homes on a 13.5-acre site, with 70 percent designated for people who live on the island year-round
- They said 15 of the homes and 24 of the condos would be sold for between $261,000 and $373,000, but locals say the island cannot support the building
Plans to build an affordable housing complex in Nantucket remain in limbo after locals objected to the scheme, insisting the affluent island does not have the infrastructure or resources for the development.
Surfside Crossing promised 156 homes on the 13.5-acre site, with 70 percent designated for people who live on the island year-round.
On an island where a 5,075- square-foot home recently went for $33 million, and where John Kerry and Blackstone CEO Stephen Schwarzman spend their summers, securing housing for those working in tourism or the local economy is a perennial challenge.
Local developers Jamie Feeley and Josh Posner, who previously constructed an award-winning 40-home affordable housing project on the island called Beach Plum Village, said that their proposal was the answer.
Developers have produced these images of their plans for Surfside Crossing, on Nantucket
The island of Nantucket, off the coast of Massachusetts, has long attracted wealthy tourists and second home owners: affordable housing has been a perennial problem
They said that 15 of the homes and 24 of the condos would be sold for between $261,000 and $373,000, and none of the 156 properties would be more than $1 million.
Yet locals have for five years been fighting to stop the scheme.
‘Most people on the island think affordable housing is the No. 1 problem facing it,’ said Posner.
Josh Posner, one of the developers hoping to complete Surfside
‘And yet these attempts to try and do something about it usually have one tragic flaw: They are next door to somebody.’
Meghan Perry, one of the leaders of the Nantucket Tipping Point protest group, told The Daily Beast that her objections were not ‘NIMBYism’.
Perry noted that the island’s fire chief testified that the development posed a ‘serious public safety concern.’
Others were worried about the nearby school, traffic patterns, and rare species in the area.
Local developers Jamie Feeley and Josh Posner previously constructed an award-winning 40-home affordable housing project on the island called Beach Plum Village
Posner and Feeley insist that their development will still go ahead, despite the concerns
The developers insist that Surfside Crossing is a valuable answer to Nantucket’s housing crisis
Local residents say that a proposed housing development, first submitted in 2018, is unsustainable on the island
Developers hope to build 156 homes on this 15-acre site near the shore
The developers promise that none of the properties will be over $1 million, and 15 of the homes and 24 of the condos would be sold for between $261,000 and $373,000
She also doubted the housing would be affordable, telling the site: ‘In reality it’s not – it’s to spin a profit for the developers that isn’t going to benefit us.’
She added: ‘It’s going to weaken our infrastructure, it’s going to put our first responders at risk, it’s going to put the community at risk.’
Meghan Perry is spearheading a campaign to stop the construction of Surfside Crossing
Locals on Nantucket say they are concerned about the ability of their schools and emergency responders to cope with the new development
President Joe Biden, first lady Jill Biden and Ashley Biden walk out of Nantucket Bookworks during their Thanksgiving trip to the island
President Biden walks down a street of Nantucket on November 26, holding hands with his grandson Beau, 2
President Joe Biden and Jill Biden pose with the firefighters during their Thanksgiving trip to Nantucket fire house
Protests continued, but the Housing Appeals Committee gave Surfside Crossing its final seal of approval in September 2022.
The residents then filed three lawsuits challenging the decision, including a filing from the nonprofit Nantucket Land Council that claimed the construction would threaten its work on behalf of public lands.
Posner told the site they still believe concerns can be resolved, and the project go ahead.
‘We do hope that as the reality of this and the overwhelmingly positive impact this is going to have on the island sinks in, we won’t have to go through the whole legal process,’ Posner said.
‘But if we have to go the whole route, we’ll go the whole route.’