First Assignment For Short-Term Rental Work Group: What's The Problem?

Jason Graziadei •


Nantucket's new Short-Term Rental Work Group got down to business on Tuesday during its first formal meeting since the membership was appointed by the Select Board last month.

With the assistance of a facilitator, the group spent four hours deliberating on how it should proceed with attempting to reach consensus on the most divisive issue in recent memory.

One of the first orders of business is to try to nail down perhaps the most important question: what exactly is the problem the group should be trying to solve?

Is it the quality of life issues - noise, trash and parking - that some say are exacerbated by short-term rentals in residential neighborhoods? Or is it fixing the town's zoning to explicitly allow for the longtime practice of short-term renting to avoid the ongoing lawsuits pitting "neighbor against neighbor"? Or something else entirely?

The work group will attempt to define that problem, along with a framework under which it will proceed with its work, and guidelines for its members.

Yesterday's meeting, which was held virtually on Zoom, was the first time the nine members of the work group (along with some alternate and non-voting members) had convened since the Select Board chose them out of a group of 41 applicants, believed to be the most ever for an appointed committee.

The work group, which was created by Town Meeting voters back in May after they decided to table two controversial zoning proposals related to short-term rentals, has been tasked with further studying the issue and finding consensus before bringing new proposals to Town Meeting in 2023.

A good portion of Tuesday's meeting was spent debating proposed guidelines for the members of the work group that would prohibit them from working on any competing warrant articles for Town Meeting. ACK Now's representative on the work group - Julia Lindner - balked at that condition, stating there was no guarantee the membership would reach consensus on a warrant article for Town Meeting. If that's the case, Lindner said, time is of the essence in addressing the short-term rental question, and there was not a year to lose in bringing proposals forward to the island's legislative body. But the rest of the work group - including Planning Board member David Iverson - pushed back on Lindner's suggestion and emphasized that all members should be committed to its work and not pursuing "side deals" for other proposals.

The work group also discussed the data its members believed would be necessary to complete its work, and whether it was attainable or not given the time constraints its working under. The town's new registration program for short-term rentals, which goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2023, will provide some of that data, but work group members said there was other information that would be necessary to make an informed decision on short-term rentals.

the members of the new Short-Term Rental Work Group who were appointed Wednesday night:

  • (1) Planning Board member: David Iverson (primary), Barry Rector (alternate)
  • (1) Finance Committee member: Peter Schaeffer (primary), Joe Grause (alternate)
  • (1) Advisory Committee of Non-Voting Taxpayers member: Peter Kahn (primary) William Gardner (alternate)
  • (1) ACK•Now member: Julia Lindner (primary) Carl Jelleme (alternate)
  • (1) Nantucket Together member: Kathy Baird (primary), Robin Nydes (alternate)
  • (1) Affordable Housing advocate: Thomas Dixon
  • (3) At-large primary members John Kitchener, Jim Sulzer, Karen Zagayko
  • (1) At-large alternate member alternate (voting): Jon Delano
  • (1) Board of Health designee (non-voting) Meri Lepore

The group committed to holding bi-weekly meetings moving forward, as well as at least one in-person meeting to solicit input from members of the community who may have trouble navigating Zoom, or just feel more comfortable communicating in-person.

Loading Ad
Loading Ad
Loading Ad

Current News