Battle Over Short-Term Rentals Brewing On Nantucket

NANTUCKET, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — The quaint streets of Nantucket are playing host to a fierce fight over short-term home rentals.

A group called ACK NOW is pushing to limit the way short-term rentals can be used on the island. Julia Lindner, the group's Executive Director, said investors are buying up short-term rentals, eating up the island's housing stock and making it harder to find long-term places to live.

"It's had a tremendous impact on the availability and the cost of housing here on the island, which continues to be one of the biggest problems we have..." she said. The group is also targeting rental apps like AirBnB, which allow owners to rent out homes on the island over the weekend or other short periods of time.

ACK NOW wants to amend Article 90 of the town's Bylaws by making the minimum stay in a short-term rental at least 7 consecutive days. Only two people would be allowed per bedroom in short-term rentals, with only one car.

But opponents of the change said limiting short-term rentals could be devastating to their livelihoods. Rebecca Chapa, the owner of the Hungry Minnow snack bar, said she could be pushed off the island without the ability to rent out her home on the weekends.

"We rent to people that are not able to take a week off from their jobs to spend in Nantucket, they're coming here for just a couple nights...we piece those together and are able to make enough that it helps to pay our mortgage," she said.

Chapa said the proposed amendment would also hurt businesses and restaurants that rely heavily on weekend visitors.

The amendment will be up for a vote at Nantucket's next town meeting on June 5.

WBZ's Suzanne Sausville (@wbzSausville) reports:

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(Photo: The Alliance to Protect Nantucket's Economy)

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