To the editor: I was seduced by charming Nantucket as a college student and I’ve been a summer resident ever since, which is longer than I’d like to admit. In the last ten years, I’ve been watching the evolution of Nantucket’s tradition of vacation rental by homeowners into what seems like a growing group of commercial and real estate interests who want to ensure Nantucket turns into a giant short-term rental project. My Brant Point home is now surrounded by hard partying weekly rentals during July and August.
I’m not surprised to observe a sea of off-island money flooding the island with advertisements to sway voters into maintaining unrestricted commercial short-term rentals across Nantucket’s residential neighborhoods. This transition is an utter disaster on so many levels, including but not limited to the complete breakdown of the fabric of neighborhoods.
I watched Charleston’s residential communities go through the same thing until the city leadership stepped in with the support of many long-time homeowners. I’ve been in the hospitality business in Charleston for decades, and I can tell you the economy is stronger than ever, even with some STR guardrails which have actually enhanced the Charleston experience.
Something must be done to protect the goose that laid the golden egg, which is unquestionably Nantucket’s history, charm, architecture, local traditions, residential neighborhoods, and unique sense of island community.
Article 60 (sponsored by Emily Kilvert) is directly aimed at addressing the main issue around short-term rentals: stopping residential homes in established neighborhoods from turning into profit-driven commercial hotels. If Nantucket voters agree, they should say YES to Article 60 to give the Town direction to address this critical issue.