The Missed Opportunity Of Article 60

Eric Silfen •

To the editor: Recently, I attended Town Meetings 1 and 2. The following are comments related to Warrant Article 60.

First, to the people of Nantucket, Warrant Article 60 was a first town bylaw attempt to legally define short-term rentals (STRs) as they have existed on Nantucket.

Regarding “grandfathering." For such a term to carry legal meaning, a prior law is required to be in existence. To date, there is no such law. One “grandfather’s” when the new law supersedes or modifies what is already legally in existence. Then, activity based upon the old law is allowed to continue, (“is grandfathered”), but any new activity must adhere to the new directive.

As pointed out so eloquently by Tim Lepore and Carl Jelleme in their Letter to the I&M editors, nothing exists formally regarding short-term rentals and that all behaviors are just that, not legal, but behaviors. In addition, without Warrant Article 60, there is nothing to “grandfather” against. There is nothing on the books regarding short-term rentals.

Second, to my fellow Nantucketers serving on the Short-Term Rental Work Group, (STRWG), if you think that your efforts will come up with a better, and more amenable, document than Warrant Article 60, that is your opinion.

However, if any of you think that the data that you will sift through will be cleaner and fairer than what we have in front of us today, that is a different matter. To be clear, this “data” that you evaluate will be ripe with the current onslaught of misinformation, adverse bias, distortions, and half-truths. Your results will be flawed, and your recommendations will be tainted.

However, if you do not believe this to be the case, I wish to drink what you are drinking or smoke what you are smoking. Additionally, I am more than ready to present you with the Neville Chamberlain Appeasement Award.


Eric Silfen, MD

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