To the editor:
I am in favor of Article 60 at the upcoming Town Meeting, which will protect Nantucket homeowners’ ability to short-term rent while prohibiting purely commercial STRs. I’m voting yes on Article 60 because I’ve seen what results when there’s no regulation.
My sister has lived since the 1980s on Isle of Palms, a very small barrier island about 12 miles northeast of Charleston, SC. She was an art teacher, and she bought her house back then on a teacher’s salary. At that time the island’s housing mostly consisted of one-story brick ranch houses with two or three bedrooms, built right after World War II to house returning veterans. Access to the island was only through a bridge at the southern end of Sullivan’s Island, to the south of IOP and some seven miles away from my sister’s house at the center of Isle of Palms. She was part of a small, tight community much like Nantucket. People did things like help the sea turtles make their way to the sea from their nests, bring home made food to the fire department on Thanksgiving, and volunteer at the police department.
Over time the small houses on IOP were bought up by off-island owners and torn down. They were replaced by huge two and three story buildings with multiple living areas, fire pits, many bedrooms (and no gardens), and rented out on a short term basis to bridal parties, corporate retreats, bachelor parties, etc. Sure, the local housing became more valuable, because its potential was greater for a high stream of investment income. But the teachers like my sister, not to mention local firemen, policemen, nurses and others, became scarcer and scarcer.
Isle of Palms built a bridge to the mainland. We don’t have a bridge. If we lose our nurses, teachers, firemen, policemen—how will we provide essential services to our community?
It’s critical to our community that we tap the brakes on short-term rentals to protect local housing and island neighborhoods. Attempts by the Town have singularly failed (there’s no solution in sight) and time is of the essence on this issue.
Article 60 protects our homeowners, neighborhoods and housing. We voters should vote YES support it.