Mark Lynch, chairman of Essex's Conomo Point Planning Committee, says residents need not read too much into a proposed Town Meeting warrant article that calls for allowing a hotel or inn on the town-owned land at Conomo Point.
"We're certainly not trying to pave the way for a Marriott there," Lynch says, and there's certainly no reason to doubt his word.
At the same time, however, the town's actions regarding the leases and other property issues revolving around Conomo Point and its residents have understandably raised skepticism among a number of those residents — and town officials should not be surprised at that.
So if, as Lynch says, the town is merely looking through this article to craft a document outlining Conomo Pint land uses, town officials had better be careful to specifically outline size and, or room limitations on any "hotel or inn" that could be developed on the site if such an article gets a green light from Annual Town Meeting, set for May 7.
Specifying uses of town-owned property is important. That's especially the case with the land at Conomo Point, where the town clearly owns the land but residents, who pay both lease fees and property taxes on the homes, indeed make a good case that they own their houses, despite the views of Kopelman and Paige, the town's Boston-based law firm that continues to make a relative killing off all of this.
But in the process of recognizing current uses, and opening the doors to some viable new ones, town officials must be certain that neither they nor residents reel in more than they bargained for.