Nantucket Residents Split On Proposed Bylaw Concerning Short-Term Rentals

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NANTUCKET, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — In addition to discussing the implementation of topless beaches, the Annual Nantucket Town Meeting on Monday will address the island's policy on short-term rentals, something that has split opinions with residents.

A proposed bylaw to be discussed at the meeting would allow only full-time residents to rent out their properties by right, while all other rentals would require a special permit from the town. The Select Board-sponsored article was brought forth to address nuisance conditions that are caused by short-term rentals, and would include enforcement provisions.

CEO of the Cape Cod and Islands Association of Realtors Ryan Castle tells WBZ's Tim Dunn the bylaw would have devastating economic consequences if passed, because the island's commerce depends on tourism.

"The restaurant owners, the retail shop owners, you name it, the Nantucket economy is built off of people who come there and visit, and also the upkeep of homes that people stay in for the week around it," Castle said.

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Last year, Nantucket voters overwhelmingly rejected a proposal that would allow residents to rent out their properties for no more than 45 days a year.

Castle says the new proposal would create two classes of homeowners on Nantucket, where the majority of summertime rentals are from second homeowners.

"We don't have the exact numbers, but we do think it's a majority of the short-term rentals out there are from people who have second homes out there who are just trying to defer the cost of having the privilege of having something on Nantucket," Castle said.

WBZ's Tim Dunn (@ConsiderMeDunn) reports.

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