Vote "YES" On Article 59 To Avoid Economic Disaster

Cheryl Emery •

To the editor: My family surfs, farms, plays music and are carpenters, designers and sign makers. We have already lost one famously loved house to the sea - the stilt house at Millie's Bridge - and fear possibly losing another to a shortsighted attempt to suppress property owner rights on Nantucket.

That's why I urge fellow islanders to please vote "YES" on Article 59 at Nantucket Town Meeting on May 7 to avert an economic and employment catastrophe on the island.

As year-round residents of more than 40 years who have invested in a home which is now a short-term rental property, the defeat of Article 59 would be devastating to our family and I know that we are not alone.

Some people invest in stocks and art to secure their financial future, but here on Nantucket many, like myself, invest in property. This investment has allowed us to remain on the island, send our children to college, pay property taxes, and plan for retirement.

Short-term rentals are also often the only way a family can maintain ownership of a property that may have been passed down to them through inheritance.

As an island community, we must look at the big picture. We are all interconnected to the tourism industry. Short-term rental visitors shop at local boutiques and dine at our many great restaurants, ensuring the island's vibrant small business community can thrive and employ a robust workforce. And let's not forget that short-term rental property owners shop locally and employ island-based contractors and service providers such as plumbers, electricians and carpenters.

We must support each other - it's the right thing to do.

What is not the right thing to do is allow one litigious and entitled summer resident to "get their way" by spending millions of dollars of their own money to obliterate property owner rights, upend the community fabric of the island and imperil the financial security of so many families. We can't let this happen. Don't give up your rights!

There are better ways to govern and regulate short-term rentals via simple majority vote bylaw amendments at future Town Meetings but in the meantime, it is imperative that we approve Article 59 to protect the island's economy and workforce. A handful of problem properties built in the past five years should not give cause to wipe out so many more via unintended circumstances. Again, please join us in voting "YES" on Article 59 at Nantucket Town Meeting on May 7. The stakes are just too high.

- Cheryl Emerey

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