June 13, 2009
The Town Manager has finally revealed the results of his discussions with the owners of the Lighthouse Motel on a land swap.
THE PROPOSAL IS TO ASK THE TOWN COUNCIL TO GIVE THE TRUMANS THE ENTIRE 50 FOOT LENGTH OF THE PUBLIC ROAD TO THE BEACH IN FRONT OF THE MOTEL.
IN EXCHANGE, THE TOWN WOULD GET THE MOTEL’S CURRENT 21 FOOT WIDE PARKING STRIP.
THAT’S 50 FEET FOR 21 FEET. THE RESULT WILL BE THAT THE PUBLIC WOULD BE NO LONGER BE ABLE TO TRAVEL DOWN THIS IMPORTANT PUBLIC ROAD ACCESS TO THE BEACH.
We learned that this might happen, and several residents spoke to the Council on June 3rd asking it to not approve any land exchange plan until there was a full, open and inclusive public process. This is precious public property and one of Pine Point’s most visible and largest shorefront rights of way. It has been so since 1888.
Despite persuasive arguments by the public asking to disclose the private negotiations, the Town Manager withheld the plan until yesterday, June 12, five days before the Town Council would be asked to vote on it.
The agenda has no first and second reading listed, and no public hearing, although Council rules allow citizens to speak on an agenda items for 3 minutes. It appears a vote could be taken to authorize deeds to be signed at this one meeting.
For years many, many residents have objected to the private use of this public road by the motel. The Association successfully lobbied the Council to remove much of the permanent barricade the former town manager had installed there in 2005 to replace the orange barrels the motel owners installed every summer for 15 years . Last spring the Council indicated that a committee could look into possible enhancements to Depot Street for the benefit of the public, inlcuding a drop off and turnaround for the public.
IT IS SIMPLY UNBELIEVABLE THAT THE TOWN COUNCIL WOULD BE ASKED TO GIVE AWAY THIS PRECIOUS SHOREFRONT ROAD. BUT THAT IS THE PROPOSAL.
To complicate the matter, the plan includes swapping other property (not just the paved, usable portion) including the FRONTAL DUNES and BEACH which are part of the deeds. This is irrelevant since those sensitive areas are forever protected and obviously undevelopable. They are not taxed and their inclusion in the plan only complicates this swap scheme.
Today you can drive down this street along the motel, view the beach, ocean, islands; fishermen can drive down to gather gear washed ashore, the fire department can drive vehicles there to search for boats in trouble or to drive on the beach for emergencies with their squad truck. Families and resort businesses can drop off beachgoers, and pedestrians, persons with handicaps, bicyclists and others have free, open access to the shore there.
THAT COULD ALL CHANGE IF FOUR ELECTED OFFICIALS ACCEPT THE TOWN MANAGER’S RECOMMENDATION.
IF THIS PLAN IS APPROVED, THE MOTEL WILL OWN THE ROAD IN ITS ENTIRETY. WHAT HAS BEEN USED PRIVATELY WILL BECOME PRIVATE. AND THE ROAD WILL BE GONE.
There have been a few hard-working residents who have worked on this and other issues at the Point for five years. But the time has come for others to step forward to let the Town Council know this is unacceptable. We’ve been told by a Town Council member that they received the plan last Friday as well, so we are hopeful they will listen to the public and put a stop to this. The Council is not responsible for this plan. But they will have to vote for or against it, table it or refer it to study. So they need to hear from us. Councilors Rancourt and D’Andrea have already indicated to the Association they were surprised by the plan and they do not support it. We are trying to contact others. They will listen to the rationale and it will be on the public record.
PLEASE CHECK DETAILS ON THE WEBSITE www.pinepointbeach.com THEN JOIN OUR EFFORT. PLAN TO ATTEND THE COUNCIL MEETING THIS COMING WEDNESDAY AT 7:00 AT TOWN HALL. OBVIOUSLY THERE IS INSUFFICIENT TIME TO TRY FOR A LARGE PRESENCE, SO IF YOU CAN ATTEND, IT WILL BE ALL THE MORE IMPORTANT.
If you are willing to speak and need assistance in preparing a statement, the Association has several talking points it can provide, but only 3 minutes is alloted for each speaker. You can help us by reading an Association-adopted statement or your own.
E-MAIL JUDY SHIRK IF YOU ARE WILLING TO ATTEND AND/OR SPEAK. firstname.lastname@example.org or call at 883-9400.
We wish there was more time, but as you read, we have very little time to respond.
Attached is an excerpt of the PLAN showing the change in the paved area of Depot Street. You won’t believe it.
Hutch, Judy, Sue, John, Jack, Elaine, Judy
The “Pine Point Residents Association” is an informal group of citizens who gather to deliberate local issues and present Position Statements to government officials. We only represent our members’ collective positions. The Pine Point Ladies Auxiliary, Friends of Pine Point, Pillsbury Shores Association, and the various local established homeowners associations are different organizations. The Group also maintains an confidential e-mail list to share information with members and non-members who request mailings. We do not release the addresses of members on this list unless requested or authorized to do so by our members. Anyone who wants to be removed from this list can reply and request so in the subject line.