Don't Be Misled By The Proponents Of Article 59

Julie Fitzgerald •

To the editor: There have been several letters supporting Article 59 and statements made by its proponents that the bylaw can be easily amended later as a zoning bylaw change or through the general bylaws. Once adopted, Article 59 as a zoning by law will allow short-term rentals as a principal permitted use in residential zones.

Even if changed or eliminated at a later date by zoning bylaw changes, the short term rental use as permitted under Article 59 will continue to be permitted with few exceptions as a preexisting nonconforming use, frequently referred to as a “grandfathered” use.

At the Select Board meeting on April 3, 2024, town counsel, John Giorgio responded after comments by Steven Cohen as follows: “From a zoning perspective, if his article were to pass, then short-term rentals would essentially be allowed as a principal use. If at a future Town Meeting you wanted to amend the zoning bylaw, for example, to make it an accessory use, we would run into issues in terms of what are legally protected prior non-conforming uses.”

If Article 59 passes it is a broad stroke of approval for STR’s as a permitted principal use in all residential zones with no protection for abutters or neighborhoods. There are other articles that will be brought forward at the next special Town Meeting or annual Town Meeting that will be fully vetted and address many of the concerns raised by this issue.

Do not be misled by the proponents of Article 59. The sky is not falling. The decision rendered by Judge Vhay remanded the case to the Nantucket Zoning Board of Appeals. That Board has scheduled the matter for hearing after Town Meeting. A bylaw change of this magnitude should only take place after further review and understanding of the long term consequences.

Vote "NO" on Article 59.


Julie Fitzgerald

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