To the Editor,
I am writing this as a private citizen. In an effort to be transparent I also sit on the STR workgroup, and I am a member of the Planning Board. The opinions below are mine and not those of the above-mentioned groups.
As we approach the May 6, 2023 Annual Town Meeting, the proponents for Article 60 seem to be turning up the heat. From letters in the papers to articles and unsolicited email blasts, it is obvious that the full-court press is on. I would like to urge patience. We as a community voted at the 2021 Annual Town Meeting to move this to a committee, the hope being that stakeholders and members of our community, both year-round and seasonal, could sit down armed with facts and data and make rational and logical policy suggestions for the November 7, 2023 Special Town Meeting.
The process has begun. Yes, nothing in town government works at light speed. A workgroup has been formed and has been meeting for several months. We need to give this workgroup the time and space to process the data, learn from other communities, and bring forward warrant articles that will best address the community concerns surrounding vacation rentals.
The Select Board has taken the lead in not considering any warrant articles that would influence vacation rentals. Every other policy-making board has followed that lead. It is not time to muddy the waters. It is time to work together to find solutions that work best for our community.
November is not that far away. When the data is available for the community to view, then let’s have a community-wide debate on the floor of town meeting. Any policies created to regulate vacation rentals at this point is premature. We as a community need to understand the rental market before we can regulate it. There are consequences for every policy we create; let’s understand those before we create more. There are many locals whose livelihoods depend on it.
Have patience and faith in the process, please.