Use The Appropriate Tools To Address Short-Term Rentals, Vote "YES" On Articles 59 & 60

Kathy Baird •

To the editor: Most wouldn’t use a sledgehammer to drive a nail, so why not use the most appropriate tools to protect Nantucket neighborhoods, homeowners’ rights, and your neighbors’ livelihoods?

Let’s assume there is a general consensus that corporate and investor-only STRs, where the owner/family/individual has no ties to the island, are outside the definition of traditional vacation rentals. Perhaps we might even agree we should prevent future growth in those STR types and push them to dwindle as they are sold.

Then let’s ponder two ways to accomplish that – one which does not harm families with connections to the island and one which does not distinguish between them and the investor-only owned STRs.

Option 1 – take away the right of all current and future homeowners and their descendants to rent their properties, based on what the court deemed to be ambiguous zoning terms (primary vs accessory use), leaving the issue open to legal, enforceability and other challenges.


Option 2 – approve a zoning clarification which retains the right to rent one’s home for any duration, providing the owner is not and does not include a corporation and is in full compliance with existing and future STR bylaws; none of which impact families with connections to the island. And, one that supports any number/type of use restrictions that could be implemented in the STR general bylaw at any future town meeting at the will of the voters?

Most of the vacation rentals that house our visitors are owned by homeowners who spend as much time on the island as they are able. If there are two ways to ‘skin the cat’, why choose the one that hurts more responsible homeowners and local livelihoods than it helps? Please choose the surgical tools and avoid the damage caused by the heavy-handed ones. Carefully consider the videos made by your neighbors who live and work on Nantucket and take that first step finding a way to vote "YES" on Articles 59 & 60.

Kathy Baird

Nantucket Together

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