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August 28, 2018

Deer Isle tackles its lack of affordable housing

The lack of affordable housing was raised at a recent community forum as one of the top issues facing Deer Isle.

During the forum, Deer Isle Town Manager Jim Fisher said that means more people are living off the island and commuting to work, Island Advantages reported. Fisher said 54% of Deer Isle's houses are owned by summer or seasonal residents, 33% is occupied year-round, and 12% is used for rentals.

Deer Isle and the town of Stonington, with about 3,000 residents combined, make up the island more widely known known as Deer Isle, in Hancock County.

In June, Deer Isle and Stonington reconvened the dormant Island Community Housing group to address affordable workforce housing issues for young working families who find themselves priced out of the island's housing market. At that time, Island Advantages reported the issue has gotten worse, with much of the year-round housing shifting to seasonal or short-term rentals. A study found Deer Isle is one of the least affordable communities in Maine.

Fisher came on the job at the end of January, after 17 years with the Hancock County Planning Commission and a one-year stint with the Peace Corps where he worked on issues of economic and community development in South America, Island Advantages reported at the time. He brought skills in areas such as public administration and economic development, environmental and land use, health, population, market research and transportation according to his resume. Over the years, he assisted projects and programs in Deer Isle.

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