Our Family Home

John Howe •

To the editor:
I participated in the recent meeting of the Town’s Short-Term Rental Work Group (STRWG), one devoted to public input.
I came away with a concern that more information is needed to understand what’s now being included under the label of STR (short-term rental), before actions are considered to take away the property rights, earned over many years, of conscientious homeowners.
For example, we have had our home on the island for 42 years. Its quarterboard has the words "Jiggety Jig" - for a reason. “Home again, home again,” it’s our family home. As such, it has received the loving care that comes with three generations of family members.
This loving care, and being able to enjoy our home for 42 years, has only been possible because we share our home for some of the summer and early fall with others - and do this thoughtfully with the help of a local realtor (the same realtor for 42 years), a local insurer (the same for 42 years), a local housekeeper (the same for 42 years) and a caretaker (only three during this time).
From this income, as part-time residents, we pay full-time taxes to support the schools, the police and other Town services. We employ island housekeepers, lawn services, plumbers, carpenters and painters.
As such, we have been able to maintain our home in the condition of its original owner, one of the island’s treasured writers. It was her “writing cottage.” This has only been possible because the monies we have received from those with whom we have shared our family home have been devoted, and entirely so, to maintain the house and property. And, during these 42 years, I have been unaware of any complaints.
I am confident that there are many conscientious home owners, like me and my family, on Nantucket. I would encourage the Short-Term Rental Work Group to go beyond its initial surveys to determine this number. If confirmed, this information should be included in the Group’s consideration of remedies for the issues before it.
No patient would want his or her physician to make a diagnosis and write a prescription without first performing an accurate history and physical. We should do no less in this instance.
John Howe

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