Don't Be Afraid Of Article 60

Allyson Mitchell •

To the editor: We shouldn't be afraid of Article 60. If it passes, every year-round resident would automatically be able to STR the property where they live (any part of the property) now or in the future. Even if you're not a year-round resident, every homeowner could STR as long as the home is used more often as a home than as an STR. There are lots of ways to make it work, and it will protect our local traditions.

What Article 60 would not protect is the growing trend of buying a house to turn it into a full-time STR business. And I'm one of the concerned residents that genuinely thinks that this is a problem for our community that seriously needs to be addressed.

Nantucket has been my home since I was a baby. I am now 38, working hard and raising children next to people I've known my whole life, trying to keep it that way. There's just one problem; homeownership is almost completely out of reach. And it's not just me - it's a lot of hard working people on Nantucket who are wondering why they're still trying to call this island their home when they know they'll never be able to own a home here.

I'd like you to ask yourself, what is Nantucket to you? Is Nantucket about the people or is it about the money? Because if it's about the people then we have to make sure, right now, that our choices are protecting our island community from disappearing entirely.

We need to get back to a balance where a hard-working family can actually live here. A balance where a nurse, a firefighter, or small business owner has a chance at a life on Nantucket. A balance where we can have a strong economy, plenty of visitors, and we're not losing teachers literally because they have nowhere to live.

Will Article 60 solve all our housing problems? No, but it does help stop the bleed. It takes the twinkle out of every off-island investor's eye that says, "Ooooh, that Nantucket neighborhood looks ripe for the STR picking…." While, again, still maintaining a strong local economy.

We don't need an expensive study or workgroup to see what's in front of us. Year-round homes are being bought, left and right, by off-island buyers and LLCs. All you have to do is talk to anyone who lost their year-round rental because it was sold, or look at recent sales data, or scroll through that magical and exhilarating GIS website. It's all there. Mid-island neighborhoods especially are a target for outside investors willing to pay 2-3 times what most year-round residents could even dream of affording. "Get me mid-island" is not a joke, it's happening.

We need to get back to a place where our community can survive, and it's going to take all of us from both sides. Let's please start by preserving the year-round homes we still have. Then, let's work together to come up with other crucial solutions to make homes more attainable for our island community. Please join me in voting yes on Article 60.

Allyson Mitchell

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