Good evening from Nantucket's Special Town Meeting!
We'll be posting live updates from Town Meeting floor as the island's voters convene to (once again) consider new regulations and restrictions on short-term rentals.
7:20 p.m. The two proposed bylaws that sought new regulations and restrictions on short-term rentals and to codify them as an allowed use in all Nantucket zoning districts were defeated. The vote on Article 1, the general bylaw proposal, was: Yes - 431, No - 523. As Article 2, the zoning bylaw, was linked to the passage of Article 1, it could not have been passed, and voters approved a motion to take no action on the proposal.
6:49 p.m. The first portion of Fee's motion (to de-link the two short-term rental bylaw proposals) was approved. The vote was: Yes: 518, No: 456. The second part of Fee's motion - regarding the definition of pre-existing short-term rentals - was defeated. The vote was: Yes: 353 - No: 614. That means the original proposal from the Short-Term Rental Work Group to apply the proposed new short-term rental restrictions under Article 1 to any home with a certificate of occupancy as of today will go into effect if it passes. That would allow nine rental contracts during the high season for homes with a CO, as opposed to future dwellings issued certificates of occupancy after today, which would be allowed four rental contracts during the high season.
6:00 p.m. Select Board member Matt Fee has made a motion to "de-link" the short-term rental proposals - Article 1 and Article 2 - meaning one could pass without the other. The Finance Committee's current motion has the two proposals linked, so both must pass or neither do. Fee's motion would also restore the Select Board's motion to apply the proposed new short-term rental restrictions under Article 1 (those permitted 9 occupancy changes in July and August versus 4) as those who can prove they rented on a short-term basis in the past and paid taxes to the state, rather than all dwellings that have a certificate of occupancy as of today. Article 1 will require a simple majority. Article 2, as a zoning article, requires a two-thirds majority vote.
5:45 p.m. Discussion has begun on Article 1, a general bylaw proposal that would protect all existing short-term rentals (STRs), ban corporate ownership of new STRs, and for other new STRs, it would set a limit of one per person and a maximum of four changes of occupancy will be allowed in high season (July and August). It is one of two primary bylaw proposals offered by the Short-Term Rental Work Group.
5:38 p.m. Article 10, an appropriation of $3.8 million for the creation of a new natural grass playing field to the Nobadeer Farm Road playing fields complex and the renovation of two existing grass fields, parking, site enhancements, along with the costs of professional services for design and other related services, was approved. The vote on the article was 759-134.
5:30 p.m. Article 9, a general fund transfer proposal, would slightly change the stated purpose of $1 million that was already appropriated by Town Meeting in 2022 for “a pilot program to help ease housing expenses for Town employees” to the new purpose of “acquiring town employee housing including all costs incidental thereto.” The article was approved 651- 178.
5:25 p.m. Articles 9 and 10 are being moved up for consideration first to ensure there is the quorum necessary ( 3 percent and 5 percent respectively.
5:20 p.m. The following articles have been called for debate: 1, 2, 4, 7, 9, 10, 19, 20. These include the short-term rental bylaw proposals. The other articles on the warrant were voted as a batch according to the Finance Committee's motions. Full Town Meeting warrant can be found here.
5 p.m. The meeting begins with moderator Sarah Alger recognizing outgoing police chief Bill Pittman, who is retiring this month after 19 years of service to the town as chief.