The first night of Nantucket’s Annual Town Meeting opened on Monday with, at the height, 920 registered voters in attendance. Because we did not all fit into the auditorium, overflow was accomodated in the gymnasium. The 3 articles related to short-term rentals generated the most discussion and only Article 39, which was a general by-law and not a zoning article, passed. Article 39 puts in place a system for local registration and future regulation of short-term rentals, those defined by the state as less than 32 days. After nearly an hour of debate, Article 39 passed 610-302.
Both Article 42 and 43, the more contentious and less defined of the STR articles, were, after some discussion, referred to the Select Board, the Finance Committee and the Planning Board to create a new study group to formulate sensible, fact-based regulations for a future Town Meeting to consider. This motion passed by only 8 votes.
We were struck by the number of close votes, on some very contentious articles, which confirms how divided our community is on some issues.