An article for the community to consider at the 2022 Annual Town Meeting.

In a nutshell.

A recent Supreme Judicial Court decision in Massachusetts (Styller v. Lynnfield) determined Nantucket’s current zoning laws don’t clearly allow short-term rentals in residential areas.

This Article defines and protects residents’ ability to short-term rent their homes.

  • Protect traditional short-term rentals.
  • Sustain the tourism economy.
  • Discourage the conversion of residential homes into purely commercial short-term rentals by off-island corprate investors.

Read the article here.

The impact of the Styller v. Lynnfield decision on Nantucket.

In June 2021, in the Styller v. Lynnfield case, the Supreme Judicial Court – the highest appeals court in Massachusetts – ruled that a resident using his home as a short-term rental was “inconsistent with residential neighborhoods.” The SJC was swayed by the need to use zoning to preserve the residential character of Nantucket neighborhoods.

Without action, the tradition of generations of families making or supplementing their incomes by welcoming visitors by renting their homes would be threatened.

An article that defines and protects residents’ ability to short-term rent their homes.

  • Year-round residents can continue to own and rent our their property as a Short-Term Rental in residentially zoned areas.
  • Seasonal residents can also short-term rent with a Special Permit (one-time application).

This article discourages the conversion of neighborhood homes into purely commercial STR enterprises by off-island corporate investors.

A few notes:

  • Only applies to STRs in residential zones.
  • Short-Term Rentals (STRs) are rental stays of less than 30 days. For example, a long weekend or one-week stay.
  • Does not affect any rental of one month or longer.

“It’s well-known that one of the downsides of short-term rentals (STRs) is that they can reduce the availability of housing for long-term residents, thus driving up both rents and house prices for locals.”

Harvard Business Review

Sustaining tourism and preserving neighborhood character.

The article ensures the continued tradition of vacation rentals for the tourism industry.

It will help stabilize home prices for year-round residents, like teachers, firefighters, and tradespeople, to purchase or rent homes.

Importantly, this article protects residents while discouraging wealthy off-island corporate investors from turning Nantucket into an islandwide tourist zone, and changing life on the Island so they can make huge profits at the expense of the year-round community.

“Industry analysts predict that Airbnb will increase their inventory by 25% in 2022. […] Converting more inventory to short-term rentals will likely have a net-negative impact on housing availability and affordability.”

National Association of Realtors, 2021 REALTORS Conference & Expo.

An important conversation for our community.

There has been much debate and concern over STRs, but clearly, vacation rentals are an important part of our community and economy.

This is an opportunity to steer forward on a sustainable path.

We think this is a reasonable and common-sense approach to protect homeowners, neighborhoods, and housing.

ACKNow doesn’t get a vote. It’s in the hands of the community.

We hope the community will consider and support the Article.

Short-term rental white paper