To the Editor:
Our community needs a wide variety of residents to be the healthy, enjoyable, wonderful place we love — artists, musicians, farmers, actors, secretaries, builders, office workers, professionals, and also the ne’er-do-wells and our Island characters. Our fellow Islanders all contribute to providing our rich, full life here.
Unfortunately, over the past 25 to 30 years our Island has become extremely popular with people who appreciate the beauty of the Island but choose to spend only a few days or maybe two or three weeks a year on-Island, and to rent their homes for the rest of the year — mostly weekly to maximize their return on investment. This new situation has had devastating consequences. Our year-round housing stock has plummeted in availability and skyrocketed in price.
To address this problem, there will be two warrant articles on every town meeting warrant to start the formal process of creating a long-desired Island-wide Housing Bank, with permanent funding provided from the new state-mandated short-term rental tax. No ballot vote is needed this year, just affirmative votes from town meetings.
A Housing Bank will help created a variety of year-round housing opportunities for young people, for seniors, for families — in short, for all of us.
It is up to us to steer our boat back on course by voting at our annual town meetings this month.
We can right the ship and contribute to the life we love here. Please vote.