ACK•Now Chair states the facts.

Last week the Inquirer & Mirror reported on our short-term rental bylaw article to help protect year-round housing and island neighborhoods. Here’s a letter ACK•Now’s Chair, Tobias Glidden, sent to the Letterbag in response:

To the Editor,

Your recent coverage of the licensing bylaw proposed by ACK•Now to stem the impacts of short-term rentals on the community did not explain to readers what the bylaw is all about and led them into thinking it would unfairly impact year-round residents.

After months of research, here’s what we know. Investor-owned short-term rentals changed the vacation rental scene. They are a new breed of investors looking to turn homes into short-term rental businesses. It’s a phenomenon across the island – did you know one company owns 14 properties and pays residential tax rates? Most people agree investors buying up the housing supply is terrible for year-round housing, terrible for the peace and tranquility of neighborhoods, terrible for the community, terrible for the environment, and terrible for the long-term economy.

So what can we do about it? We can’t stop anyone from buying property on the island. But the voters can put reasonable limits on the way a property is used. After all, most short-term rentals are businesses operating in residential areas. That’s where our licensing bylaw is a proposal to help us regain control of the housing supply, of neighborhood quality of life, and our community.

It goes to great lengths to ensure a year-round resident can rent his or her home to make ends meet while giving them an edge when buying a home. It offers a second homeowner the opportunity to offset some of the costs of a vacation home.

Many other cities, towns, and resort destinations have short-term rental programs, and it works – look at Boston, Salem (MA), and Kauai (HI). We are counting on the community of the island to acknowledge the damage from investor-owned short-term rentals. We are also appealing to realtors to realize reasonable limits are necessary to preserve this community for future generations.

Thank you, Tobias, and thank you to all those who help us by sharing their time, advice, and feedback.

Enjoy your week,

Julia Lindner
Executive Director

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