Nantucket Town Meeting Highlights


We are fortunate to be able to engage in the most pure form of democracy by having an annual town meeting.  Approximately 500 people attended (out of over 9,000 registered voters).  Among the most hotly debated articles were those related to the relocation and funding for a new Our Island Home, Nantucket’s convalescent home. The existing building, located in Town overlooking the harbor, is in need of major repairs.  It is one of only two in the Commonwealth that is subsidized by the community (the other is in Taunton), the cost of which is approximately $3 million per year.  The general feeling of the voters was that the location of OIH, with views of the harbor, matters to our community and that it should stay in the current location rather than being moved to the Miacomet area.  The vote on the $30 million funding, which needed two thirds to pass, failed 264-253.  The fate of OIH will now be studied further by the various work groups and Town leadership and brought back to a future town meeting.
A unanimous vote was taken to get a sense of the meeting regarding a ban on small mesh fishing gear.  Islanders feel that the ban should extend to include up to 3 miles off of Nantucket as it does in 90% of the rest of the coastal communities in Massachusetts.
With no discussion at all the annual operating budget of over $81 million passed.  The school system represents over $27 million of the total.
The Planning Department brought forward numerous articles to change zoning, most of which passed.  Less successful were some attempts by individual property owners to re- zone their properties in order to subdivide.
A zoning by law amendment passed that reduces the size and limits the location of swimming pools in the village of Madaket.
An article passed that eliminates helicopter landings except at the airport and the hospital, or in an emergency.