To the editor:
A response to Mr. Hankin’s response.
Thank you for taking the time to respond to my letter.
While I do believe that Mr. Hankin’s personal intentions for the short-term rental (STR) proposal are benevolent (and I apologize for my earlier tone that implied otherwise), the change opens up a loophole that now needs another layer of oversight by the town to ensure compliance—if that is even possible. I have read the actual amendment, it is not long. The question still lingers: how is anyone going to prove that a tenant with a lease lives on the property full time?
An overwhelming majority of the residents at Great Barrington’s 2022 town meeting spent a great deal of time deliberating and voting for the passage of the bylaw as it stood before Monday night, and I am guessing they would likely have voted to preserve their position had the meeting not run so long. I assume that most people who attend the meeting were there to vote on the entire town warrant, not just the first bits.
Even if we still technically preserved a quorum (and as I recall the moderator had to confirm several times), how is it fair or democratic to the people who physically cannot endure or have to attend to children?
I am more than happy and willing to debate this with Mr. Hankin or just share a coffee. Divergent opinions are an important part of the political discourse and in no way suggest that I harbor hostile feelings towards him or any of my fellow community members.
We should be open about the merits (and even our mistrust) of proposals that affect our town.