December 8, 2023

New England Journey

Islanders voted 523-431 in opposition to the proposal.

A view of the Brant Level lighthouse on Nantucket. Joseph Prezioso / Getty Pictures

Nantucket residents as soon as once more voted down a proposal to restrict short-term leases on the island throughout a particular city assembly on Tuesday night time.

  • Mount Desert Island

    This Maine island simply ranked larger than Nantucket on a nationwide record

Residents voted 523-431 in opposition to Article 1, a normal bylaw proposal that may finish future corporate-owned short-term leases (STRs), discourage commercial-only STRs by limiting high-season contracts, restrict future STR possession to at least one property per proprietor, and permit 9 rental agreements throughout excessive season (July and August) for owners who at the moment lease — or are “grandfathered”— and 4 for many who don’t. There could be no limits in the course of the offseason.

The residents took no motion on Article 2, a zoning bylaw modification that may permit STRs in all zoning districts on Nantucket, as a result of it was linked to Article 1.

The proposals had been created by a short-term rental working group shaped final yr to check the scenario and make a advice throughout Tuesday’s assembly. Members of the group urged residents to vote sure on the articles in a letter to the editor within the Nantucket Present previous to the vote.

On an island going through a housing disaster and the place 80 to 85% of the lodging nights are supplied by short-term leases, residents have been divided over the difficulty of short-term leases for years. Residents voted down earlier proposed restrictions in Might, in addition to in 2022 and 2021.

Jim Sulzer, a member of the short-term rental workgroup, spoke earlier than the vote.

“The laws in Article 1 are a direct reflection of the values that guided our short-term rental workgroup,” Sulzer mentioned. “From respecting the custom of dwelling rental on Nantucket to decreasing the churn of frequent summer time turnovers. We’ve achieved our perfect to discover a sustainable steadiness, supporting present property rights whereas attempting to protect the standard of life on our island. All of us acknowledge that the integrity of neighborhoods is threatened by investor-only STRs and company STRs. Thus, Article 1 bans new company STRs — they’re at lower than 4% proper now — and it discourages investor-only STRs by limiting new STRs to simply 4 contracts in excessive season. We expect that these Article 1 laws are a giant step in the precise route and are crucial.”

David Iverson, a planning board member, mentioned “a no vote means nothing adjustments. A no vote means we’ll have far much less laws to control this enterprise. What which means is folks can have as many STRs as they need.”

However a number of residents expressed issues in the course of the assembly.

Some expressed concern over being restricted from renting their property sooner or later just because they haven’t rented it up to now.

“I used to be disenchanted that Article 1 as introduced ahead primarily grandfathered within the present corporate-owned residential STRs which might be in residential neighborhoods, thereby kind of rewarding these firms who’ve began to create this drawback for us by permitting them to maintain doing this in perpetuity whereas stopping others to take action,” mentioned Michael Kopko, a former Choose Board member. “So I believe on the finish of the day, this text as written is just too onerous and byzantine on property homeowners and doesn’t do sufficient to eradicate the potential of company possession. So I urge you to vote this down and, clearly, Article 2 down and let’s come again with one thing actually easy.”

“We didn’t really feel legally we might ban the company STRs which might be right here now,” mentioned Sulzer. “We didn’t have a authorized leg to face on. However it’s lower than 4 % of all STRS so let’s hold that in thoughts and let’s notice that it’ll not develop.”

“I learn Article 1 completely and nonetheless discovered it very complicated,” mentioned a resident who has been renting her dwelling each summer time for 35 years.

She mentioned she didn’t see how it might hold industrial, investment-only STRs away and advisable going “again to the drafting board.”