ACK•Now Chair: Still Time To Find The Right Approach To Short-Term Rentals

Carl Jelleme •

To the editor: I’d like to respond to a personal attack by Ed Sanford.

I’ve offered to meet Ed Sanford multiple times to talk about short-term rentals, but he declined. I’m still interested in meeting. I don’t understand why personal attacks and insults are dragged into important discussions about the future of the island.

The bottom line is we need a solution that works. Unfortunately, in trying to sell Islanders on the workgroup’s proposal, Ed Sanford forgot to mention two critical points:

#1. All existing corporate and commercial or other short-term rentals (STRs) will be so-called “grandfathered” with the ability to continue to operate in residential neighborhoods, while residents who want to STR in the future will have to play by stricter rules…Why should those who have benefited from the commercial use of their houses be rewarded and their neighbors be denied the same opportunities to rent going forward?

#2. Every property across the Island will be able to turn into a full-time STR.

Who wins with this approach?

Not the neighbors of these mini-hotels nor any residents worried about the house next door selling to an STR investor. Not year-round residents who aspire to buy a home or find a year-round rental. And not business owners who can’t meet the current demand and are trying to piece together more debt to buy more housing for workers.

On the other hand, it’s easy to understand why real estate and commercial STR interests, such as Ed Sanford, would get behind this approach.

So why is it ridiculous to ask the people making government decisions to disclose their financial ties to the STR industry? Doesn’t everyone have the right to know?

I got involved because, like all of you, I care about the Island. The decisions we make on short-term rentals will have serious effects on Nantucket and its people.

There is still time, and everyone at ACK•Now is open to discussing alternatives that don’t strip away homeowners of residential zoning protection or open the floodgates to the commercialization of the Island.

Carl Jelleme
ACK•Now Chair

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