Nantucket voters on Monday endorsed the creation of new regulations for short-term rentals across the island, and punted two other short-term rental proposals from the Planning Board and the political action group ACK Now to a work group for further study. Those dueling proposals - the Planning Board's would have permitted short-term rentals by right in any island zoning district while ACK Now's sought to regulate and curtail short-term rentals by non-residents - were tabled for more review on a narrow vote. More than 800 voters participated as Nantucket's 2022 Annual Town Meeting got underway.
Article 39, a general bylaw amendment, will establish a framework to regulate and register short-term rentals on Nantucket. The proposal was sponsored by the Planning Board and was adopted on a 610-302 vote. The bylaw will regulate short-term rentals on the island with requirements for local registration, permitting, inspection, and certain fees. It would also set up a structure to put some of the “nuisance” issues associated with short-term rentals – for example: noise and parking – under the the purview of the Board of Health.
Article 42, a zoning bylaw amendment put forward by the Planning Board that would have codified short-term rentals and allowed them by right in all zoning districts, will be sent to a work group comprised of the Select Board, the Planning Board, and the Finance Committee for further study. Article 43, the citizen petition put forward by the political action group ACK Now’s executive chairman Tobias Glidden, met the same fate. Article 43 would have preserved the ability of year-round residents of Nantucket to do short-term rentals of their properties, but would require non-residents and and second home-owners to obtain a special permit to do so. Specifically, Article 43 would have allowed short-term rentals by right as an accessory use for those whose primary residence is on Nantucket. For non-residents and anyone renting a second home, a special permit would be required to use their property as a short-term rental as long as the Zoning Board of Appeals determined it was an accessory use. The vote to send Articles 42 and 43 to the work group for further study was 422-414, with some arguing that they wanted to vote on each individually.
Former Select Board member Michael Kopko called Article 39 for debate, urging its defeat along with the other short-term rental articles. "The problem with the articles is that they’re all rushed, they’re rash, they haven’t been thought through and we haven't sat together to come up with something better," Kopko said. "Vote them all down and get busy coming to that one solution we can all come together and support."Planning Director Andrew Vorce spoke to endorse Article 39.
"Articles 42 and 43 might be proposals to consider at a later time, but Article 39 is critical for us to begin, sets up a structure we need and don't have right now," Vorce said.
Other highlights from Monday night's Town Meeting session include: Article 10, which includes $36 million in spending for capital projects, was approved. It encompasses $11.6 million for affordable housing initiatives, $9 million for new water mains west of the airport, and nearly $500,000 for police body cams.Yes: 757 No: 118Article 11, an $8.5 million appropriation for the design of the new Our Island Home nursing facility at Sherburne Commons (away from its current location on Nantucket Harbor) was approved.Yes: 757 No: 130Article 15, a $5.6 million appropriation for new athletic facilities at the #Nantucket Public School campus, was approved. It includes concrete tennis courts & a baseball field, but not the controversial turf fields which were stripped out over PFAS concernsYes: 681 No: 197Article 16, which sought $6 million for the design of a new central municipal facility at 2 Fairgrounds Road, was defeated. While the article received a majority vote - 535 "yes" to 309 "no" - it did not meet the 2/3 majority threshold, which would have been 562 votes. Yes: 535 No: 309 Article 20, which would authorize $10 million in borrowing for affordable housing projects, was approved. Yes: 663 No: 200Watch the full Day 1 of Nantucket's Annual Town Meeting below: