Neighborhoods

Some Nantucket Residents Oppose Affordable Housing for Seasonal Employees

David Long, the CEO of Liberty Mutual, doesn't want the Nantucket Land Bank to build a dorm for some of its workers.

Some very rich people who live on Nantucket are exceedingly peeved that they may have to be near seasonal workers.

Finding a place to live on the island (especially during peak season) is no easy task if you’re not at the top of the economic ladder. And last year, the Nantucket Land Bank pitched the idea of easing the burden on workers by erecting a new dorm for some summertime employees, the Boston Globe reports. It seems like a no-brainer that the public agency should be able to make reasonable accommodations for the workers who help keep the island humming—after all, it’s incredibly tough to secure an appropriate place to live on Nantucket on a cook’s salary.

But, according to the Globe, a few island residents with astronomical annual salaries aren’t too keen on the idea.

David Long, the CEO of Liberty Mutual and the owner of a $2.3 million gated home near the proposed dorm, is a leader of the effort to quash the building’s existence. The Land Bank is tasked with acquiring and protecting the Nantucket’s undeveloped land, according to its website, and Long, through a lawyer, said the new building does not further that goal.

“The construction … is entirely at odds with ‘the interest of conservation,’ and the Land Bank’s essential purpose of preserving land in its natural state for enjoyment by the general public,” Long’s lawyer, Bob Popeo, wrote in a letter, according to the Globe. “The project bears no relationship to the Land Bank’s mission or its expertise.”

Never mind that workers who help maintain Nantucket’s land deserve a dignified place to live, regardless of political NIMBYism. And never mind that Long, whose salary approached $20 million last year, could volunteer his own time, money, or expertise if he’s really that concerned with the Land Bank’s executive direction and the island’s environmental future.   

And Long putting up a stink over the building isn’t just frustrating, it could prove to be debilitating for the Land Bank. Because the organization has had to shell out $50,000 in legal fees to parry with the CEO, the dorm itself could be in jeopardy, according to the Globe. What a sour way to start the summer.