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Short-term Rental Regulation for Nantucket May Return Before Voters

Airbnb is listing shares of its initial public offering Thursday, capping a tumultuous year for the short-term rental company.
Airbnb is listing shares of its initial public offering Thursday, capping a tumultuous year for the short-term rental company.

Nantucket voters will likely have another crack at regulating short-term rentals, after a vote was widely rejected at town meeting this weekend.

About 900 voters came out for Saturday's annual meeting and about two-thirds voted against a proposal to limit the rentals, which include Airbnbs.

A local group called ACK•Now brought the petition forward. Executive director Julia Lindner said the idea was to regulate a market that is squeezing islanders out of needed housing and allowing big businesses to take advantage of housing stock.

Lindner said even after Saturday’s lopsided vote, the group's effort isn't over.

“We expected this to be a two year effort,” Lindner said. “And we're just excited that we're going to get to be gathering in person and get to have outreach with the community.”

Lindner said that real estate industry and corporate groups like Expedia lobbied voters before the meeting, but ACK•Now plans to bring another proposal forward soon.

"Quite frankly we knew that voters had been pretty heavily lobbied by the AirBnbs and Expedias and some of the opposition groups in the last few months, and created a lot of confusion about the impacts on families and the economy," she said in an interview Monday after the weekend vote.

Lindner said investor-driven rentals are reducing the available housing stock on Nantucket.

Opponents say the regulation would damage the island's hospitality industry and unfairly hurt homeowners who depend on short-term rentals to help pay for their Nantucket homes.