On Short-Term Rentals, End The Nonsense And Focus On Reasonable Compromise

Peter McCausland •

To the editor: Monday's ZBA hearing was yet another bizarre chapter in the short-term rental saga. The Grapes’ counsel argued that vacant days count as days occupied by an owner. They aren’t here for voting or tax filings, but they are here for purposes of determining if the short-term rental (STR) use of their dwelling qualifies as an accessory use.

This is the latest scheme of the STR investors and those profiting from them. It would have the effect of legalizing full-time STRs everywhere on Nantucket and nullifying the will of voters who have turned back four articles in four years that would do the exact same thing! Imagine an investor-owned property rented for 155 days and vacant 200 days. If vacant days are owner days, the property is used by owner more than rented. Of course this theory is contra to Massachusetts zoning law, federal tax laws, Massachusetts voting laws, the accepted meaning of words in the English language and the laws of physics, but these people won’t quit.

Hopefully, Town Counsel will set them straight before they waste more taxpayer money in furtherance of their financial interests. It is time for some transparency in the form of board and committee members’ disclosure of financial interests, direct and indirect, in STRs! And, it is time to put an end to this nonsense and focus on a reasonable compromise; although I am beginning to think that might not be achievable given the fact that these people deny any connection between investor-owned STRs in residential districts and the housing crisis, neighborhood disruption and loss of community.

Peter McCausland

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