The Proponents Of Article 59 Are Misleading The Public

Abigail Camp •

To the editor: In a letter to the editor and fact sheet posted online, proponents of Article 59 are urging people to “vote to keep allowing people to rent out their homes, a tradition that has been part of Nantucket for a very long time.”

This is extremely misleading because residents are currently allowed to rent their homes as an accessory use (i.e., rented for fewer days than the owner occupies the property), a right affirmed by the Land Court’s decision. Also, the Nantucket tradition of short-term renting consists of islanders renting their properties to supplement their income. It is not allowing commercial interests to use their properties primarily as short-term rentals (STRs) which Article 59 would do.

Also, in an effort to support their cause, they’ve cited the mission of the Historic District Commission (HDC) which is to “promote the general welfare... through the preservation and protection of historic buildings, places... and through the benefits resulting to the economy of Nantucket in developing and maintaining its vacation-travel industry….” As a member of the HDC, I’m actively involved in promoting this mission as the vacation-travel industry is a critical part of our economy. However, to imply that Article 59 would benefit our local economy is disingenuous since most of the money generated by STRs leaves the island. In fact, approximately 80 percent of STRs are owned by off-island interests.

Abigail Camp

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