NLC Highlights: Articles 60, 62, 67, 68, 76, 83, 86

Annual Town Meeting will be held this Saturday, May 6th starting at 8:30 AM in the Mary P Walker Auditorium of the Nantucket High School. We hope you will be in attendance to vote on the many important issues found in the warrant this year. Once again, the Nantucket Land & Water Council has reviewed all 105 articles and identified a number which have implications for the future health of the island’s natural resources and environment. The NLC’s recommendations, or “Green Sheet”, will be included in this week’s Inquirer and Mirror, access it on our website HERE, or you can find NLC staff handing out copies at Town Meeting Saturday morning.

This year the articles that the NLC is highlighting include the following:

Article 60: Short-Term Rentals – Vote YES

This article will protect homeowners’ rights to short term rent provided they use their home more often as a residence. It will also serve to prohibit full-time commercial short term rentals from residential neighborhoods. The Short Term Rental Workgroup is continuing to evaluate available data and consider options for regulating STRs on Nantucket. The community can still consider all recommendations from the Short Term Rental Workgroup in the coming months. Article 60 memorializes the tradition of homeowners short term renting dwellings as an accessory use, something voters can support.

The short-term rental industry contributes to more intense (re)development of properties on Nantucket. This development and use puts increasing pressure on the island’s natural resources and infrastructure, from the health of our aquifer, ponds and harbors to solid waste management, traffic, water and sewer. The accelerating development and repurposing of properties for short-term rentals as a business, especially by off island corporations operating multiple rental properties, also negatively impacts the historic rural character and life experience around Nantucket. It is time to restrict commercial STRs in residential areas.

Article 62: Preexisting Nonconforming Lots – Vote YES

Nantucket’s Zoning Bylaw currently contains a loophole, added in 2012 under a Technical Amendment, that has increasingly been exploited to inappropriately develop nonconforming lots which our Zoning Bylaw says should not be possible. This article does not create any conflict with state law. We are unaware of any legal opinion from Town Counsel stating otherwise. We have found no other municipality in Massachusetts that does this, automatically granting buildability to new lots which do not comply with zoning. It is time to close this loophole and eliminate this development which is detrimental to neighborhoods and the environment.

Click HERE for more information on Article 62 and for Examples of 41-81L Developments.

Article 67: Zoning Map Change R20 to R10 Old South Rd/Miller Ln – Vote NO

This proposed zoning map change will simply double subdividability in an already congested, high traffic area of the island. There are no restrictions, affordability requirements or other public benefits associated with this increased subdivision potential.

Article 68: Zoning Map Change R40 to CN Evergreen Way/Airport Rd – Vote NO

This proposed zoning map change reduces the minimum lot size to a fraction of what it is now, from 40,000 sf to 7,500 sf. It will not only allow for new commercial uses, but will also enable substantial subdivision on these two properties from a current potential of 3 lots under current zoning up to 14 lots with this proposed change. This will increase the density nearly five-fold adjacent to a residential area.

Article 76: Outdoor Lighting Bylaw – Vote YES

This article proposes to update Nantucket’s Bylaw regarding outdoor lighting to incorporate current best practices. It will result in minimizing light pollution and preserving the island’s dark skies. Light pollution interferes with the circadian rhythms of humans and wildlife, and is particularly detrimental to nocturnal animals, migratory birds, and amphibians. The preservation of dark skies is essential to the long-term health of Nantucket’s natural and cultural resources. This is something we can all work together to implement for the future of Nantucket.

For more information, CLICK HERE 

Article 83: Home Rule Petition – NP&EDC – Vote YES

This article proposes changes to the composition and enabling legislation of the Nantucket Planning and Economic Development Commission to promote a broader vision and greater focus on critical long-term planning.

Click here for more information on Article 83

Article 86: Home Rule Petition – Fertilizer Regulations – Vote YES

This article petitions the state to grant Nantucket a two year window to draft new or amend our existing fertilizer regulations. The fertilizer ban voted on by the 2022 Annual Town Meeting is still being reviewed by the state, and it is unclear whether or not it will be approved. This is an important option and alternative for addressing fertilizer management on Nantucket. While Nantucket’s regional planning agency, the Nantucket Planning & Economic Development Commission would play a key role, as dictated by state law, in implementing any amendments or changes to our regulations, other town departments and organizations could work together to provide recommendations for review and approval by the NP&EDC. There is no reason not to petition the state for this option. We should do everything in our power to improve fertilizer management, regulatory implementation/enforcement, and education.