Nantucket SignHere is a brief summary of some of the Articles (adopted at the 2016 Nantucket Annual Town Meeting) that will likely have the most impactful changes on the Nantucket real estate market:


The Town approved a large sewer project to address water quality.  The cost of the project will be paid for by the tax base, with no new fees or betterments.  Many lots in the Monomoy/Shimmo area and in Town will be required to connect to sewer as soon as 2017, eliminating Title V’s septic restrictions on bedroom count; Zoning, Planning, HDC and ConCom rules still apply.

Commercial Mid-Island (CMI) District

A new zoning district was created – between the triangle of Orange St., Sparks Ave, and Williams St, and also in an area off Old South Road by Hanabea Lane, Wampanoag Way, and Daisy Way.  The CMI District limits commercial and residential uses allowed while expanding some rules; allows apartment buildings, “Workforce Housing” bonus lots and rental units (as created last Fall), and raising the height limit to 40 feet.

Affordable Housing

The Town passed a Home Rule Petition (HRP) to set a new 0.5% fee on real estate transfers over $2 million, with the funds dedicated to affordable housing. A separate Petition was also passed to exempt affordable housing from the 2% Land Bank fee on transfers.  HRPs must be enacted by the State before they can be implemented.

Secondary (Covenant) Lots

The rules for creating affordable housing Covenant Lots were simplified; they can now be sold to certain family members who may not otherwise qualify under income guidelines.

Tertiary Dwellings

The rules for Tertiary or third dwellings were expanded to allow them to be larger (up to 650SF), to allow for more uses (such as non-profit ownership or year-round rental), and to allow them on Covenant lots.

Tiny Houses

Tiny Houses of 500 square feet or less were authorized.  All Building, Health, Zoning, ConCom, HDC and other codes still apply to them.

Prohibiting Pools

The Residential Old Historic (ROH) District was expanded so the prohibition on pools in the ROH district now applies to expanded area including additional lots in or near Town on Cliff Road, Main Street, North Ave, Prospect Street, Joy Street, Milk Street, Mt. Vernon Street, Quaker Road, and Madaket Road. A proposed ban on pools in Quidnet and Madaket was tabled by the Planning Board.

Minimum Ground Cover

Undersized lots of 40,000+ square feet in zoning districts LUG2 and LUG3 were granted an increase in the minimum ground cover allowed to 2,000 SF (an increase from 1500). As the initiators of this change, we are very pleased to see it adopted.

Zoning Merger

A new process allows owners of abutting preexisting nonconforming undersized lots to develop them without merger of the lots if a structure is temporarily eliminated during construction.

Open Area

The 20% open area requirement on Commercial Lots in the CDT District downtown was eliminated.

Please note that this newsletter is informational and not intended to provide legal advice or to create an attorney/client relationship.  Please contact an attorney for legal advice.