Select Board Members Right To Question Short-Term Rental Work Group Proposals

Eric Silfen •

To the editor: Last week, our elected officials on the Select Board reviewed the Short-Term Rental Work Group package.

Kudos to Mr. Fee and Mr. MacNab for expressing what many of us think. This package, rather than allowing local rental traditions to continue, ensures that mini-hotels expand their creep throughout our island neighborhoods and that we lose more year-round homes so desperately needed for our community to survive. We count on our elected officials to carefully vet and consider policies before recommending them to voters at Town Meeting. Some Work Group members, including Mr. Iverson from the Planning Board, seemed shocked that their package didn't get a quiet rubber stamp from the Select Board.

I also applaud the Chair of the Select Board for recusing from the Short-Term Rental deliberations last week. After all, she is a real estate agent with a clear financial interest in STRs. We all expect Town officials to follow ethics laws from the State.

Given how easily money can derail good policy, isn't it time for all members of the Work Group and the Select Board, Planning Board, and Finance Committee to disclose any financial interests related to STRs (including family members' interests)?

For those paying attention, the Work Group's proposal would enshrine commercial STRs across Nantucket, a sure way to accelerate the housing crisis and the commercialization of our neighborhoods. My fear, though, is that most people are too busy this time of year to sift through this package designed to confuse voters with complicated rules that protect commercial STR operations.

Eric Silfen

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