To the editor: No one is above the law. Many of us received a mailing last week with several well-known community members endorsing "facts" about upcoming short-term rental regulation - Kilvert's citizen Article 60. There are many claims in this letter that bothered me, including an attempt to discredit economic research by University of Massachusetts, but the one that hit hardest was a claim that "short-term rentals are illegal on Nantucket."
None of the signers have any legal authority. There is no regulation of short-term rentals at a federal, or local level. The state has legalized their use through an Enabling Act passed in 2018. In Nantucket, they're regulated by the board of health vis a vis Article 39 that passed at 2022 ATM.
These types of dramatic claims are carefully designed to scare voters into making an emotionally based decision in the campaign to pass the premature Article 60 on May 6th - STRs are illegal and Article 60 is here to save us. Yet in reality, the only group challenging short-term rentals legality are sponsored by ACKnow, the very organization who manufactured the outrage and this issue in the first place. There is still no data that details Nantucket's short-term rental market or "issues", and regulating an integral component of our economy based on fomenting fear and insecurity will lead to disaster.
As someone who rents their own property, and who also brokers short-term leases, it made me feel like a criminal and which questions my integrity in this community. Am I viewed as a deviant by well respected people and their followers?
I pray that these respected members of our community who signed this letter apologize to those of us whom they've offended by accusing us of a criminal act. I also pray for their temperance in letting the town collect more data and to listen to those of us who depend on this sector of the economy to make our way of life on the island.
To the public, please be advised the only opinion that actually matters in the rule of law is that of a judge, and your well-informed vote on May 6th.
15 Rudder Lane