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Nantucket’s legislature is the registered voters of Nantucket who are eligible to vote on Articles of the Warrant issued by the Board of Selectpeople at the annual Town Meeting. The Articles vary from the benign of funding for a storage shed to the impactful of whether there should be a Land Bank fee. Citizens can submit Articles with only 10 signatures from Nantucket registered voters. Big decisions are made at Town Meeting and often at the hands of few…

One Citizen Warrant Article that is already causing a stir is from an organization called ACK-Now, which is proposing there be heavy restrictions on short-term rentals. Most notable highlights of the proposed Article are:

  • Residents can only rent their property a maximum of 90 days.
  • Non-residents can only rent their property a maximum of 45 days.
  • Vacation rentals have to be a minimum of seven days.
  • Vacation tenants can only bring one car on Island.

The main reason ACK-Now says they brought forth this Article is to help with affordable housing. It says, investors are buying up property, driving up prices and making property out of reach for Island residents, so the Town needs to restrict this behavior.

ACK-Now is generalizing the acts of one or two LLC’s, that own several vacation rental properties, across all property owners that rent. If this Article passes, there will be less tourists, which means less shopping, less restaurant meals eaten, less charter fishing trips taken, etc., which means less money in the pockets of Island residents, which means less money to buy a home on Nantucket. Also, there will be less tax revenue from the 6% tax on short-term rentals, which means less money for affordable housing programs. So, this Article will probably have the opposite effect of the “intended” purpose.

Instead of trying to force this overreaching, property seizing Article upon us, why not incentivize for affordable housing? How about having a tax-break for those that rent their dwelling year-round instead of short-term or disincentivize the LLC’s from running vacation rental businesses by taxing at commercial rates or ??? Let’s think macro, not micro on this.

Makes me wonder, is this Article about affordable housing or NIMBY?