The Annual Town Election is set for Tuesday, May 23 when polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Nantucket High School.
We reached out to the four candidates vying for the two open seats on the Select Board this year to answer a series of questions on local issues. The first:
The Short-Term Rental Working Group is preparing to bring warrant articles to the November Special Town Meeting. In your opinion, where is there consensus on potential restrictions of short-term rentals on Nantucket - if any - and what would you like to see the working group bring forward?
The candidates' responses are below in alphabetical order:
As the affordable housing advocate, primary voting member on the Short-Term Rental Working Group, I’ve gotten to know well the issues surrounding carefully weighing the pros and cons and tradeoffs of any consensus policy(s) we’ll be recommending at Special Town Meeting in November. *Please let me first state that I only speak for myself, not as a representative or delegate of the WG. Since our inception in last October, we’ve assessed data, heard from zoning experts, sought counsel on the legality of potential policy levers, engaged with other municipalities who have enacted STR regulations, assessed data as compiled by the Town’s consultant, and discussed at-length many ideas for the regulation of STRs. Read Dixon's full response here.
What I heard at the Town Meeting is some consensus over corporate-owned STR properties and protecting island neighborhoods. On May 10, the STRWG presented a draft regulation for short-term rentals. I agree with Purpose and Intent of the draft regulations. I would like STWR to bring forward a bylaw and zoning regulation that will achieve this Purpose and Intent. This is progress, but there are several questions that need to be answered. In fairness to the STRWG, they have not had an opportunity to address questions from the community. For example, all pre-existing short-term rentals, including those owned by corporations, would be allowed to continue to operate. Essentially, the regulations would allow an unlimited number of full-time short-term rentals on Nantucket. For all the work and controversy, does this mean nothing will change? Read MacNab's full response here.
Consensus. Now, that’s a word I would hope to assist the Select Board in achieving. But following the recent Town Meeting I have serious doubts any proposal will achieve consensus when considering Short Term Rentals. What are we hoping to find agreement on? There is the issue of property ownership, in particular the aspect of corporations beginning to infiltrate our short -term rental industry, an industry we all assume will protect the atmosphere Nantucket is famous for. However, groups that do not live here, summer here or spend any time at all here have no idea what our tourism industry demands. We have what I will call Nantucket Charm here. It is an intrinsic pace and cordiality we who live here love. So, one thing we are looking to achieve, I suspect, is decorum that will support our style, our Nantucket charm. I’m thinking loud music, loud voices and other loud things that disrupt our harmonious atmosphere. Read Richen's full response here.
Here is a primary example of why you shouldn't look to your government for meaningful solutions. This group had a year to come up with recommendations for this year's Town Meeting and didn't do it ! If you had as many meetings and took as much time to decide your person positions in life, be it financially etc. You would be financially and morally bankrupt. I believe they should put together at least three different options and let Town Meeting decided.