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Nantucket Struggles to Provide Housing for Seasonal Employees
A parking lot next to Miacomet Golf Course was to be the site of some badly needed dormitory housing for seasonal workers in Nantucket, but a small group of wealthy homeowners have stalled the process. The Nantucket Land Bank Project was approved by the city's Select Board. Plans had already been drawn up when a group of wealthy home owners in the area including David Long, the CEO of Liberty Mutual, stepped in to oppose it. Long hired a lobbyist to petition the Massachusetts State Government to stop the project. “Bank officials said the dorm is needed to address the island’s housing crisis, which has made it so hard to find affordable apartments that some workers have been sleeping on basement floors or in old shipping containers," David Abel writes for The Boston Globe.
Long's advocates argue the Land Bank's purpose is to "Preserve land in its natural state," despite the fact that the land the dormitory would be built on is currently a parking lot next to a mechanic. Land Bank officials fear that the lobbying may be showing some returns on Long's investment. The commission says they've now spent $50,000 fighting Long's legal challenges and that his lawyer’s many communications to the state secretary of Energy and Environment, Matthew Beaton, have born fruit pointing out that. "It took nearly a year for Beaton to respond to their request to build the dormitory," Abel reports.
In the meantime, Abel writes, workers continue to struggle to find housing in an area where a typical two bedroom rents for $3,000 a month.