Petitions are circulating to put on town meeting warrants an article to direct tax revenue from short-term rentals toward affordable housing. Like many others, I approve and support this.

These funds would help support initiatives to build affordable housing units.

It is my strong belief that building more housing is not a solution. It does not address the real problem, and it pushes us toward complete buildout of the Island.

The real problem is that 80 per cent of the housing stock on the Island is vacant in the winter. Some of these idle houses are summer homes for wealthy visitors. The majority are investment properties that are rented only for high rates in the summer.

The new tax presents some disincentive to this practice. However, a great many who treat Island housing as an investment opportunity will treat it simply as a cost of business. Passing the cost along to their customers will further divide those who can afford to vacation here from those who cannot.

For it to have significant effect on the divide between those who can afford to live here year round and those who are forced to leave may need additional incentives for year-round rental properties.

We need more owners to rent year-round rather than maximizing summer income. We need creative solutions when old families are forced to sell because of divided inheritance by family members who have moved away because they couldn’t afford to live here.

We have genuine community here, and truth be told that is what draws people at least as much as the natural beauty. Humane relationships are the real measure of success in life. Need it be said yet again that money can’t buy that? Those who treat the Island as a money machine and then take their profits south with them are profoundly alien to us. They deserve a good, hard look. However golden the egg, we are not geese.

Bruce Nevin