To the editor: Islanders who attend the upcoming Special Town Meeting on November 7th will vote on Article 2, which proposes to change local zoning laws to legalize unlimited full-time short-term rentals (STRs) anywhere on Nantucket. I urge everyone to take an hour or two on that Tuesday evening to attend and help stop the continued expansion of full-time STRs by saying NO to Article 2. For those counting, this is the third time a similar zoning article has made it to Town Meeting. Residents must say NO once and for all.
The short-term rental work group insists it wants to “do no harm," but has it considered what harm Article 2 will bring to island neighborhoods? Article 2 would allow unlimited commercial STR businesses in our residential neighborhoods. These are not residents who rent their homes occasionally (everyone agrees this tradition should continue). These are commercial operations just like a hotel, motel, or fast food restaurant, and they don’t belong in residential neighborhoods. Period. It’s exactly why we have commercial areas.
Equally important, has the short-term rental work group considered what harm Article 2 will bring to Nantucket's working middle class? These are the people who run restaurants and shops, help maintain our homes, teach our children, save lives, and provide services that Nantucket absolutely needs. The economy is thriving like never before, yet the middle class is shrinking at a rate like never before. Sadly, Article 2 would make things worse. If it passes, Article 2 will entice more well-funded investors to buy homes and turn them into pool and cabana compounds where no one lives. There is no doubt in my mind that unlimited commercial STR businesses will harm Nantucket’s true engine, its local community.
It's time to send a clear and powerful message to the powers that be that our island community and neighborhoods need to be protected, not exploited like gold mines until they are gone.
Please attend the Special Town Meeting on November 7th and say NO to Article 2. The future of our beautiful and peaceful Island and the survival of its local community is at stake. We must stand together to protect Nantucket.