With Short-Term Rentals, The Future Of Nantucket Is At Stake

Alan Rubinstein •

To the editor: We all recognize and appreciate the time and effort of the STR Workgroup. Unfortunately, their proposal does not restrict commercial full-time STR businesses in our residential communities. Nor does it prevent the conversion of existing homes to full-time STRs.

The bottom line; it will do very little to prevent the continuing commercialization of our residential neighborhoods. It is therefore critical that the Select Board defer the Special Town Meeting so that a revised proposal can be developed with strong and meaningful restrictions that will prevent commercial STR businesses from destroying our residential neighborhoods.

It is overwhelmingly clear that islanders do not want unrestricted STRs across Nantucket. And they clearly do not want commercial full-time STR businesses in their residential neighborhoods. After all, who would want to live next door to what is essentially a transient lodging motel with an endless parade of strangers. It is nothing short of a nightmare and we  should all be worried about what will be next.

Yet, time and time again, the Planning Board and now the STR Workgroup shamelessly propose regulations that provide undue benefit to special interest real estate and  development constituents. We desperately need a new and different group of people to  look at this issue. A group whose goal is to preserve Nantucket’s peacefulness and tranquility together with a strong economy and to ensure that residential neighborhoods remain residential, and continue to be characterized by a strong sense of community. A group without any ties to real estate and development interests and that is willing to reflect the desire of Nantucketers to preserve the sanctity of their neighborhoods.

Commercial full-time STR businesses have no place whatsoever in our residential neighborhoods and must be absolutely prohibited. Period. At the same time, we must protect Nantucket’s tradition for homeowners to short-term rent their homes during the high season. This can be achieved. In fact, proposals to that effect have been made in the past, but the Planning Board and others publicly distorted its provisions. I urge the Select Board to defer the Special Town Meeting so that new proposals can be developed to prevent the commercialization and destruction of our residential neighborhoods.

The future of our beautiful and peaceful island is at stake.

Alan Rubinstein

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