Article 59 Would Commercialize Island’s Residentially-Zoned Neighborhoods Forever

Charlie Platt •

To the editor: The Nantucket community has defeated Article 59 twice already based on good common sense. Article 59 would forever commercialize the island’s residentially-zoned neighborhoods, and expose residents to institutional and other investors profiting from widespread short-term rentals.

Just as importantly, Article 59 would destroy the significant benefits of residential zoning: zoning for residential living promotes a collective sense of community, a shared commitment among our neighbors to the common good, and a sense of stability and permanence in each of our homes. Anyone who has lived next to a short-term rental is painfully aware that streams of vacationers next door are very different than neighbors in residence.

Nantucket voters don’t have to burn down these residential zoning benefits to “Save Jobs.” Nor do they have to commercialize forever every residential neighborhood to be “Nantucket Together.” There is a compromise that is far less damaging. Nantucket’s town government can allow short-term rentals as an “accessory use” under our existing residential zoning laws. “Accessory use” ensures that all Nantucket residents can short-term rent their homes so long as they use their homes primarily as their residence.

This balanced solution not only protects the benefits of residential zoning. It continues the longstanding tradition of Nantucket residents renting their homes for the short term. And it helps reduce the rising pressures on the island’s natural resources and infrastructure that we all see and feel every summer, and helps preserve the quality of life on Nantucket that is so priceless.

Nantucket’s well-being is better served by compromise, not by Article 59.

Charlie Platt

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