Although many still await the 'definition of the STR problem', it was the consensus of the STR Work Group that unregulated vacation rentals and codification of the legality of them as they currently operate, was a non-starter. As a group, we strove for a middle ground that would accomplish the most good for the community while doing the least harm to property owners, business owners and town finances. That has always been the goal of Nantucket Together and I believe we have worked with our fellow STRWG members to put forward a set of integrated bylaws that:
We all benefited from the advice of Town Counsel and a Zoning Consultant as we learned how to best utilize the specific strengths and characteristics of zoning and general bylaws, joining them in a package that was intended to work in tandem.
For a variety of reasons, that did not happen and the will of the voters left the status quo in place with a set of basic regulations and the legality of STRs left to a Land Court judge.
Let's not forget that the registry and fines/loss of license for nuisance violations for irresponsible STR operators is already law but the ability of the town to collect and then analyze Nantucket specific STR operational data has been hampered by the failure to launch the registry with at least a one year delay. Once the new registry portal goes live in Q1 2024, we will know how may Nantucket STR operators their are and who owns them but we will not know until January 2025, how they operate as that is when the prior year's operational and other information (yet to be defined) will be uploaded to the portal.
So we wait and hope for a successful launch of the portal with intelligent collection and analysis of operational data.
And in the meantime, we turn our attention to the citizens (and perhaps Town) warrants for STR regulation and codification to be voted on at the 2024 Annual Town Meeting.
Nantucket Together is in full support of the STR Bylaw package sponsored by Attorney Steven Cohen as Articles 59 (zoning) and 61 (general bylaw modification to current STR bylaw in Chapter 123 of the town code). Also in the warrant is a town-sponsored general bylaw (60) and another citizen-sponsored general bylaw (62) both of which are alternative proposed modifcations to Chapter 123.
Nantucket Together continues to support the traditional model of family operated STRs as currently (and with the the passage of the STR Articles 59 and 61 in May) regulated by the town.
We also support:
And most importantly, we look to eliminate the neighbor-vs.-neighbor acrimony related to vacation rentals and the commercialization of Nantucket neighborhoods.
• Many of our supporters are previous islanders who moved off for a job, a marriage, or to care for a loved one. But they still return every summer and many hoped to retire on island. Any discriminatory practice against part-time residents presents a threat to their ability to maintain their home.
• If you give or bequeath your home of land to your children and they ever need to move away for a period or time or look to build a home and rent it to pay for it, we do not want to restrict their ability to earn income to support the home.
• If you intend to retire to warmer climes in the winter as part of your retirement plan and rent your Nantucket home when you are away we want to protect your future right to rent.
• If you own a second property on the island or have a cottage on the same property as your permanent residence, your right to rent should not be taken away or restricted.
Contact your local neighborhood and civic associations to spread the word and elevate your concerns about how STR restrictions could hurt homeowners and the Nantucket economy.
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