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June 12, 2013

Rockport officials prep for Long Beach lease talks

ROCKPORT — Town officials say they are in the process of information from the 154 summertime residents of Long Beach who are looking to negotiate new leases.

Earlier this year, at the Annual Town Meeting, voters backed an article allowing the town to extend the length of the leases; Long Beach residents could have the option to take out 30-year leases instead of 10-year leases as they have in the past.

Town officials have not began any specific lease negotiations to date.

“We haven’t really gotten to that stage yet,” said selectmen Paul Murphy. “We’re still gathering information.”

Murphy said the board will weigh the pros and cons of allowing the properties to be sold for a one-time financial gain, against leasing, which brings in revenue every year.

If the town were to sell the properties to the lease holders, however, the town would also be giving up beachfront property. The leaseholders also pay taxes on the cottages.

Right now, the town is doing its due diligence by exploring all possible options between buying and leasing, selectmen Erin Battistelli said.

“We’re open to all the possibilities,” she said.

Last week, the Long Beach Improvement Association approached the Board of Selectmen, who will be involved in negotiating the lease agreements, about the history of the cottages.

“We’ve been leasing the homes for over 100 years,” association president Richard Carbone said Tuesday.

Carbone said that longer, 30-year agreements are more beneficial to both the town and the lease holders. He said mortgages could only be obtained from the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) for the 30-year duration, but not always for shorter terms.

“You can’t obtain a 10 year mortgage,” he said.

Those mortgages essentially give the leaseholder five years off, he added, so they would only be paying the equivalent of a 25-year mortgage while holding the lease for 30 years.

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