GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

October 1, 2013

Letter: Board should rescind ‘outrageous’ lease vote


Gloucester Daily Times

---- — To the editor:

At its Sept. 24 meeting, the Board of Selectmen voted 3-2 to extend the leases for the 154 Long Beach cottage owners by 10 years.

This is an outrageous folly that will do the town major damage.

I call on the selectmen to rescind this vote, and vote instead for extending two-year leases. This will give the town and the cottage owners breathing space to make the crucial decisions that are needed on the future of Long Beach, while the necessary environmental and financial reports should be completed and digested in one year.

Following board member Wilhelmina Sheedy’s excellent suggestion, the selectmen should offer the Town Meeting the chance to decide whether the town should retain ownership of Long Beach.

If the voters opted to sell Long Beach, one year into a two-year lease, the town would give the cottage owners notice of our intent to sell the property. The town would retain ownership of the marsh and the beach itself, with access easements to it, but the cottage owners would get the rest of the property, including the seawall. Good riddance to the seawall.

The details in making all this happen may be complicated, but they are not rocket science. And the basic choice that the town faces could not be simpler:

Either we retain ownership of Long Beach, with all the attendant hassles, and pay for the $20 million seawall, or we disburden ourselves of this albatross, and walk away with $60 million or $70 million and live happily ever after.

TOBY ARSENIAN

Granite Street, Rockport