Carl Jelleme •

To the editor: I read with disbelief the short-term rental (STR) subcommittee recommendation for the special fall ATM. How, after the failure of Article 59 at the May 2024 Annual Town Meeting and three similar articles in the previous three years to give blanket approval for unrestricted STR use that were all soundly shot down by island voters could they come up with Article 59 dressed in disguise, or as one of the proponents called it "a really elegant compromise" .... REALLY?

Their recommendation allows eight rentals in July and August and unrestricted use the rest of the year, which to me equals being able to STR one's home 52 weeks of the year.....which is what Article 59 proposed. They have also again promoted legacy protection for current STR owners for eight years, legacy protection is nothing more than a fancy way of grandfathering which is inherently unfair for the folks that have owned property and not rented in the past.

I am not at all against anyone renting their home. I have in the past and may in the future.

Folks have done so on Nantucket for decades, but they have rented as an accessory use, they have traditionally lived in their home more than they have rented it. This is the determination of our current zoning law by a very well-respected Land Court judge in the Ward vs. Grape case.

We have zoning for a reason and on our great island it has worked well, our past planning board members realized that having full-time commercial uses in residential neighborhoods isn't a great idea, which is why most of our residential zoning districts don't allow hotels and many other commercial uses. I believe a house that has the potential to be rented 52 weeks of the year is a commercial use and nothing more than a mini hotel and it is pretty clear that the voters see it this way.

If the Select Board and Planning Board sign off on this new recommendation it is crystal clear that they are not listening to what the voters of this island want, we will waste another incredible amount of time at the fall Town Meeting and I predict that once again a full-blown "LET'S RENT NANTUCKET" zoning article will be defeated... again.

Let's REALLY compromise with a simple zoning bylaw: anyone can rent their home as an accessory use, and live in the home more than the home is rented.

Carl Jelleme

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