The results came early in yesterday’s Town Meeting. Article 90 garnered 32% of the abnormally large crowd, falling short of the majority required to pass.
We want to extend a huge thank you to all our supporters who “tried” to make their voices heard. We expected this effort to take a couple of years – contentious issues like short-term rentals can take some time to succeed.
One thing is for sure. Article 90 was the underdog facing a real estate industry in control of local government and voters heavily lobbied by big corporations spreading misleading information.
We’re hopeful the real estate community will come around and help prevent investors from taking over the Island. After all, they supported the creation of the Land Bank in the early 1980s. Reading through the I&M coverage from this
period, it’s easy to find parallels between the need for a Land Bank then, and short-term rental regulations today – including the changing nature of buyers for whom money isn’t a factor. Back then, the difference is that buyers were “people interested in Nantucket for the solitude and privacy” – that sounds better than investors looking to turn a home into an STR business. (1)
In the words of J Pepper Frazier from 1983: “People here should realize they can destroy themselves by killing the golden goose. The quick sale gives you money, but it destroys things.” Even though the two sides may seem far apart, we need to do the right thing for Nantucket and find a solution. (2)
Town Meeting turned out to be a beautiful day – with voters stepping out from under the tents to warm in the sun’s rays. It was the first chance to see familiar faces after being cooped up for over a year for many folks. We look forward to in-person gatherings, community engagement, and other important issues to study and discuss.