ROCKPORT – The Long Beach Options Committee has created a draft options for the city to consider once the leases for the Long Beach cabins are completed.
The options were listed by Chairman Kenneth Kaiser at the committee meeting on Wednesday. Going forward, Kaiser said the committee would be tasked with determining how much each scenario would cost the city.
Long Beach cottage owners own their homes but rent the land they are built on to the city. The latest round of leases for $ 75 million of city-owned beach land is set to expire in 2023.
If the chosen men choose to renew the leases, they may also decide to rebuild a new dike. Kaiser called this the “” “option. It “could be very costly” but “could be the politically sound thing to do”.
If the chosen men do not wish to rebuild the dike, they may choose to repair it as needed to maintain public safety. The city can choose to terminate a lease if a cottage becomes “vulnerable” during the 10-year period.
A “vulnerable” chalet should be defined in more detail in the lease. Kaiser pointed out that emergency vehicles cannot reach some cabins when the tide is currently high.
To go further, the city can also choose to include a new language in the leases which reduces the liability on its side. The leases now state that any damage due to the city’s negligence is the city’s responsibility. New leases could eventually stipulate that “city negligence” does not include damage caused by a failing dike.
The city could also choose to bide its time by renewing leases for five years against 10 years. Depending on the impact of sea level rise on Long Beach, the city may choose to extend the next round of leases.
Or, city officials could organize a “managed retreat.” Longer leases could be offered to owners of non-“vulnerable” cottages, but the land would be placed under conservation easement and any other development would be prohibited, except for repairs. Lease terminations could occur if a significant part of a cottage is damaged or destroyed, either by a break in the dike or by other means.
Finally, the municipality could take the path of “back to nature”. All leases would be terminated; cabins, public service infrastructure and possibly the dike would be removed; and the beach and parking lots would be redeveloped in the same way as Good Harbor Beach. The city previously estimated that the effort could cost $ 11 million, excluding legal fees related to potential lawsuits brought by cottage owners.
Selection woman Sarah Wilkinson previously said that “the selection men have already decided that removing the cabins is not an option that we will be looking at.”
Kaiser also included a list of options the committee will not consider. These included redeveloping the beach to house a marine refueling station, marina, or “theme park,” Kaiser joked; sell portions of the beach itself; and create additional developments behind the chalets to combat climate change, such as another concrete breakwater, a sand coating or a living shoreline.
Michael Cronin can be contacted at 978-675-2708 or [email protected]