To the editor:
There is a hard failure awaiting Nantucket if Emily Kilvert’s article passes at the Annual Town Meeting. One wonders if the article’s author fails to understand how the Nantucket rental market actually works or intentionally seeks to put it out of business, harming thousands of families and the economy in the process.
For zoning purposes this article would re-define “owner occupied” as homes where owners reside six months or more. This narrow definition represents less than 5 percent of available rental homes. Thus, if the article is passed it will broadly discriminate, eliminating 95 percent of vacation rentals, making it impossible for almost all families who own a home to provide rentals.
It also forces the 5 percent that remain into the already busy summer season when demand is highest, resulting in a collapse in availability any other time of the year when the island needs it.
What happens to seasonal cottages that rent in the summer but cannot be inhabited during the winter to meet this new occupancy requirement?
What about the second property that a Nantucket resident may own and care for on behalf of their family?
The article’s supposed allowance for non-owner-occupied properties is a nothing- burger, as it states “long term use” must be longer than vacation rental use. Summer residents do not use their homes “long term,” thus the allowance is worthless. The providers of 85 percent of vacation rentals would be deemed illegal.
In summary, the article contains extremely adverse effects against almost all people who provide vacation rentals, whether or not they live on or off Nantucket.
If one wishes to regulate vacation rentals rationally, they need to propose regulations that work for the other 95 percent.
It is unfortunate that the supporters of this article, most of whom are either officers or active supporters of ACK•Now, are not moving toward the middle. Each successive citizen’s warrant article related to short-term vacation rental restrictions has been more and more extreme, less permissive and less reflective of the realities on the ground.
No legislation is good, or effective, if it attempts to wipe out the marketplace it was meant to regulate.
The article is not a proposed regulation, it is a ban.