Voters Weren't Confused. They Didn't Want The STR Zoning Bylaw

John Sylvia •

To the editor: A narrative I’ve been hearing from the local media and others is that the STR work group’s articles failed strictly because of confusion. I agree that some voters may have voted down Article 1 because it was too confusing, but many others, myself included, voted “no” because it would have opened the door for Article 2 to pass.

There was nothing confusing about Article 2. It was a zoning change to allow any property across Nantucket to become a full-time or commercial STR. Article 2 is the same zoning change that voters have been showing up to vote “no” on for the last three years.

If voters had been given the chance to debate and vote on Article 2, it would have failed miserably because it went too far. And now we come to find out that Steve Cohen, on behalf of his client Nantucket Together, is sponsoring two articles that include the same zoning change that would permanently open the floodgates for STR investors to commercialize island neighborhoods.

Part of the problem in this debate from the start is that off-island investors are trying to peg themselves as the same as residents. The Planning Board should set its agenda aside and call into question whether the Nantucket Together/Cohen zoning article is valid…

It has the language that Linda Williams submitted last year (article 61) that got voted down by over two-thirds. As I understand, once they are voted down, citizens’ sponsored zoning articles can’t come back for 2 years. And, the Town should explore reasonable regulations around homeowners’ short-term rentals with more liberal rules for owner-occupied STRs.

John Sylvia

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