Nantucket Town Meeting: Unintended Consequences

The deadline has come and gone for citizens to submit articles for consideration at this years Annual Town Meeting. A total of 57 articles were submitted by engaged community members and, as is often the case, some of them have unintended consequences. An article was submitted that would have changed zoning to DEDUCT from the total square footage of a property that area that is currently defined as the setback areas, thereby significantly reducing allowable ground coverage. A proposed zoning article has the effect of freezing, from the initial date of publication which, in this case, was January 3rd, 2020, the issuance of any new building permits until the article has been voted upon and enacted by the state. In the case of this article, what it meant was that many people who were already in the queue for a building permit would have had to wait for months to start building. The sponsor of the article decided to withdraw the article and it may be brought back in another form in the future. Another article on the warrant would extend the time from 60 days to 1 year before a structure can be removed from a lot. This could create the same permitting and scheduling log jam as the setback article.