GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

June 17, 2013

Letters: Five issues to be resolved at Long Beach


Gloucester Daily Times

---- — To the editor:

Long Beach Improvement Association officials (Letters, the Times, Saturday, June 8) provided their detailed and supposed “win-win” explanation to justify a long-term lease arrangement for the 154 cottage owners at Long Beach, Rockport.

The ultimate decision on this matter will be achieved by involved town officials through reasonable negotiations, analysis of all data and sound judgments by Rockport officials to best serve all Rockport taxpayers. There are related issues, however, that require clarification.

A 30-year lease for these LIBA home owners might be highly desirable for their benefits, but such a lease would best benefit all Rockport taxpayers only if such a prolonged lease contains a stated provision so it can be periodically modified. This would provide flexibility for any unanticipated needs unique to Long Beach, and the broader Rockport community. 30 years is a long time.

There are unknown factors during any lease period that might require new attention and appropriate modifications. One example is if and when future seawall construction has to be built in response to projected elevated water tables and changing coastlines. It is still not clear how the costs of the recent seawall damage from recent storms will be handled between the various parties.

LIBA officials cite the Long Beach owners as being on “fixed income.” So too, is this true for many others residing throughout Rockport and every community in our country. And they do pay a considerable portion of their taxes for the public schools.

Even though some of us do not have any children attending them, all taxpayers have a civic/moral responsibility to support our school system, It must be understood, there is a direct correlation in the quality of a community’s school system and its real estate values. Neglect the schools and the real estate values deteriorate. The LIBA’s argument is specious.

There is a need to make a fiscally sound and legitimate comparison between the tax revenue figures provided by the LIBA officials versus those calculated from the outright sale of the individual properties currently leased to the 154 homeowners. We need to accurately estimate each building lot’s true sale value.

Using the operating land assessment figures the 154 homes are on is a starting point. These figures, coupled with the actual sale of the land, which would promote millions of dollars for the community’s long-range investment purposes would provide a clearer picture of both possibilities; that is, whether to lease or to sell the properties. Careful detail analysis will give the answer as to the best one.

What’s puzzling in this ongoing process is why the 154 homeowners wouldn’t want to own the exact land their homes are positioned on? Then, their homes and the land would have a combined, identifiable, and total value ownership. Such an arrangement gives a clearer continuity for each of the 154 homeowners.

LIBA officials’ statement Rockport has “six beautiful public beaches” is quite accurate. Either leased or via individual ownership of the Long Beach property, the beach will continue in perpetuity to be a publicly available facility for all Rockport residents and others.

JOSEPH N. MUZIO

Normanstone Drive, Rockport