All Nantucket Homeowners Should Be Alarmed: Vote No On Article 59

Cathy Ward •

To the editor: Dear neighbors, my name is Cathy Ward. I am a year-round resident. About three years ago I filed a complaint with the zoning department about my neighbors using their residence as a commercial short-term rental (STR). I asked the Zoning Board to uphold the zoning already in our bylaws. Silver Street and West Dover Street are in the Residential Old Historic District. I was rejected. I had hoped the town would enforce zoning. I really didn’t want to file, but it got to the point that I couldn't enjoy my home in the summer. I even considered moving away from Nantucket which would have been sad for me because I love our island community.

During the long court case, I was assured by my counsel that I was in the right and that we would win the case. Along the way, I was attacked by the Grapes’ lawyer and people on the STR Work Group as if I was the one who was wrong. Not only did the town fail to support me, they opposed me every step of the way. I had always thought that a town was supposed to enforce zoning laws, not just ignore them and then attack anyone who questions what is happening. A rule is a rule.

The town has decided not to appeal their loss in my case, but instead has endorsed the fourth attempt to gut residential zoning in as many years.

All Nantucket homeowners should be alarmed. No one should have to go through what I have endured. And it’s not just homeowners who should be concerned. Those who aspire to homeownership or are looking for a reasonable long-term lease should also be concerned. Short-term rental investors, mostly from off-island, have driven up prices of homes in mid-island neighborhoods and are responsible for the loss of hundreds of the long-term rentals which have disappeared in the last decade. We need long-term leases for our teachers and healthcare workers so we can all live here.

I urge my neighbors and all Nantucket neighbors to vote NO on Article 59.


Cathy Ward

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