To the editor: We are writing to update you on the status of the regulation of short-term rentals on Nantucket.
We want to ensure that all year-round residents are aware of these issues and the fight that is being waged by special interests.
At the Annual Town Meeting in May 2022, a Short-Term Rental Working Group (STRWG) was established to evaluate the impacts of short-term rentals and propose suggested regulations. Unfortunately, the group that was established was biased in favor of short-term rentals. As the editor of the Inquirer and Mirror stated in the August 11, 2022 edition, the makeup of the workgroup was “deeply flawed and stacked with the interests of pro-development and pro-short-term rentals.”
This became clear when the STRWG presented its recommendations to the Select Board on July 12, 2023. The proposal would effectively preserve the status quo. In fact, Select Board Member Malcom MacNab stated that this proposal doesn’t change anything. We encourage you to view this meeting online.
For example, the STRWG proposal would preserve every existing short-term rental including those operated by commercial interests in our neighborhoods. It would also allow every property on Nantucket to be used as a full-time short-term rental. The proposal limits short-term rentals during July and August – to nine contracts for existing homeowners which is still one rental per week, and temporarily to four for new buyers. While the proposal tries to limit corporate ownership by requiring ownership by “natural persons,” nothing prevents “natural persons” from representing commercial real estate interest.
As we’re sure you’ll agree, this isn't the solution for Nantucket and its community. It does nothing to prevent more year-round and seasonal homes from turning into STR businesses. Moreover, this will only exacerbate the housing crisis, making it more difficult for residents to live and work on the island.
We recognize the benefits of STRs to the local economy and the value they provide to residents who need to supplement their income and/or preserve family properties. That’s why we are committed to finding a solution that does two things:
- Protects Nantucket’s local tradition of rentals while helping to provide attainable housing and year-round rentals for our local workforce.
- Prevents the conversion of residential properties into commercial STR businesses.
We hope you will join us as we work towards a solution that is truly in the best interests of our community.
At their next meeting on Wednesday, August 16, 2023, the Select Board will be considering whether to allow the STRWG’s flawed recommendations to be placed before voters at a Special Town Meeting in November. We urge you to contact the Select Board and urge them to deny this proposal so that a more effective alternative can be developed.