Nantucket is a vacation spot for people all over the world but confusion over the legality of certain rental properties might make visiting the island a wild ride.

A letter signed by well-known islanders and delivered to residents recently claimed short-term rental properties are illegal under the current zoning bylaw, a statement disputed by Nantucket's Planning and Land Use Serviced Director Andrew Vorce.


In its reporting, The Nantucket Current said:

The rhetoric is an escalation of what critics of short-term rentals have been arguing for several years now: the island’s zoning code does not specifically permit short-term rentals, and thus they are prohibited commercial use in residential zoning districts.

The letters were delivered to residents just in time for what's usually the busiest tourist season of the year. This is all brewing ahead of a town meeting that will likely consider the matter.

If it's ultimately deemed that short-term isn't legal, then where will most of the island's revenue come from in the summer? Of course, the effects would be felt farther than the island. What about the ferries that shuttle people to and from the mainland?

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Some say it's illegal. Others say it isn't. Without getting into all the politics, it appears there's some grey area being manipulated here. From an outsider's perspective, Nantucket seems to getting along just fine as is. My gut tells me no one says no to money. The revenue the island makes from all the short-term stays throughout the year isn't just pennies.

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