Nantucket Town Meeting Voters Face Questions on Short Term Rentals

NANTUCKET – A number of short-term rental focused articles will be considered by Nantucket voters during the town meeting scheduled for May 2.

Article 39 aims to create a process to identify, register, and regulate short-term rentals in the town. Those wishing to operate a short-term rental would have to obtain a permit from the Board of Health, which would require an application and associated fees. 

Article 42 would codify short-term rentals for the island community, defining what a short term rental is in an official capacity. It also would clarify short-term rental operation as a right of residential property ownership. 

“Establishing short term rentals as an allowed use in the zoning bylaw will set a baseline and remove any ambiguity as to the use being allowed or not. Providing some certainty to the approximately 1,800 property owners with a registered short term rental through the state is prudent to avoid additional litigation between individual homeowners, as well as the town,” reads the comments by the planning board on the warrant.

Article 43, submitted by Tobias Glidden of the group ACK Now, would limit the right to operate a short-term rental to only those whose primary residence is that on Nantucket as determined by federal tax filings.

Off-islanders would be required to first get a special permit from the Zoning Board of Appeals. 

The planning board said that it does not recommend the article, stating that it can be ambiguously interpreted and creates privacy issues with the requirement to provide federal tax filings. 

Cape Cod and Island Association of Realtors CEO Ryan Castle said that the article could cause long term damage to the island’s economy.

“Shop owners, restaurant owners, house cleaners, landscapers and all these people that make the Nantucket economy work are going to be driven out of business if you restrict short-term rentals,” said Castle. 

“If you’re not fortunate enough to live on Nantucket year-round and you have to work somewhere else and live somewhere else and you’re just trying to have a second-home out here, you won’t be able to rent it. That’s what the proposal is doing.”

Proponents of Article 43 said that it would help limit the commercialization of short-term rentals in the community from off-island businesses. 

The meeting will be held at Nantucket High School’s Mary P. Walker Auditorium on Monday, May 2 at 5 pm.

About Grady Culhane

Grady Culhane is a Cape Cod native currently living in Eastham. He studied media communications at Cape Cod Community College and joined the News Center in 2019.
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