GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

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February 11, 2013

Essex eyes more Conomo sales

EDITOR’s NOTE: This is a corrected version of this story. The projected infrastructure and capital costs for northern Conomo Point changes is $4 million. Due to an editing error, an incorrect figure was listed in the original story.

ESSEX — History books point out Conomo Point was likely named in honor of Agawam tribal Chief Masconomet — also known as Masconomo — who ceded Cape Ann land to colonists.

Now, current residents on northern Conomo Point feel they’re in a similar situation; they may have to move their houses — or reconfigure them — to comply with state Department of Environmental Protection standards, and perhaps even cede their claims of house ownership to the town..

Residents must confront the 90 bedroom limit set by the state DEP, as a majority of the houses on northern Conomo Point do not have proper septic systems installed. And the house ownership dispute between the mostly seasonal residents remains in the hands of Essex County Superior Court. So while three public forums were put in place to help determine how best to use the land and how to remove or reconstruct the houses, some said they came away from last Thursday’s final forum with more questions than answers.

The Conomo Point Planning Committee, along with the town’s hired consultant, Brown Sardina, recommended the areas of Beach Circle and Robins Island be sold.

Preliminary numbers presented by the town’s Finance Committee show the sales of the areas would bring in a net revenue of $8,278,000. After some $4 million in costs such as road construction, house demolition and beach improvements, the net revenue drops down to $4,258,000 during the first three-to-five-year phase of the Master Plan, officials said.

The recommendations to sell Beach Circle and Robbins Island go against the grain of 1999 Town Meeting votes to preserve as much waterfront property as possible for town ownership and public use.

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