Stop The (ACK Now) Madness
Linda Williams •
To the editor: The late Nancy Sevrens said years ago that we should beware of “letting the camel get its nose under the tent” describing a foothold leading to disaster. The proverbial camel, ACKNow, has been trying to get its nose under the tent for the past three years despite going down to overwhelming defeat twice. This has caused economic fear among the majority of responsible, law-abiding property owners, support businesses and the Town.
ACKNow’s attempt at saving us from ourselves is re-packaged as Article 60. They promised they would keep coming back until they get their way. Note that a member of the STR Workgroup is paid by ACKNow to push their article.
ACKNow board members have made money off clients that make money off STRs. Hypocritical? The devastating impact of Article 60 means nothing to them. As one ACKNow board member even advised a long-time family on a social media site, insulate your summer shack and Article 60 will make it so he can get a dinner reservation. Really? We have an ACKNow funded litigant, stating that she did not want to hear kids running around playing in the yard or suitcase wheels running up the sidewalk on a different street near her. Really?
Discussion of turning Nantucket into an exclusive enclave started in the mid-1960s by Beinecke. This idea included the importation of workers daily to service the wealthy with none living here. This blatant elitism is back, led by one wealthy homeowner wanting to create Nantucket in his own image and thus ACKNow was born. The community’s economy has relied on tourism since the 1860s. Families can no longer afford to rent for three months nor have the time to do so and lifestyles have changed. The goal is to get rid of families like yours and mine, and those normal vacationers.
Proponents of Article 60 are trafficking in what NYU Professor Jay Rosen refers to as “verification in reverse.” Take something that we all know to be true, the drastic impact of Article 60, supported by facts and expertise and introduce doubt. It causes commotion leading to controversy, in our case, against STRs. Commotion allows them to push their agenda as fact, no need for verification. Say it enough, put up the lie of creating affordable housing with Article 60, and we will fall in line like lambs lead to our own economic slaughter. The things we all know are true, we are being told are not true, forcing us to defend our property rights. Much of what ACKNow is preaching is full of misrepresentations, callousness, arrogance, alternative facts and dismissiveness, to anyone that disagrees, including Town Counsel. To combat proponents of Article 60 I have put in three articles.
Article 58 clarifies that a year-round and seasonal homeowner who live in their houses for a minimum of three months can rent rooms. It has received a positive recommendation from the Planning Board.
My article 59 removes the word “expressly.” ACKNow argues that renting your home is not expressly included in the Zoning By-law and is therefore prohibited, which has been the basis for three lawsuits not yet settled. Using that logic, a playset, trampoline, outdoor kitchen, kid’s tent, patios, year-round rentals or a room in a house are all illegal. I could go on but where does it end?
Article 61 will codify and protect your right to freely rent your property for any length of time without fear by exempting residential rentals from the definition of commercial. If you choose to do an STR you have to abide by the Town’s General Code and state law. This would also stop ACKNow’s attempt to seek sympathetic judges. I will be proposing a sunset date on Article 61 of September 31, 2025, to give the STR Workgroup two town meetings to finish their work.
Town Counsel said on the record that Articles 58, 59 and 61 are legitimate with no unintended consequences such as those that are rampant with “dangerous” Article 60.
Please vote YES for Articles 58, 59 and 61 and STOP THE MADNESS once and for all. Send a clear message to ACKNow that ENOUGH IS ENOUGH and vote NO on Article 60.