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|Town follows new procedure for beach lease|
|Written by Susanna Sheehan|
|Wednesday, 26 June 2013 09:59|
The Board of Selectmen this week altered the usual way they approve the lease for Duxbury Beach, this time following the instructions of new town manager René Read regarding the state procurement laws.
On Monday, selectmen unanimously approved a beach lease that runs only from July 1 to Aug. 14, 2013 for the price of $1. This was to allow Read to follow the state laws that require towns to solicit and advertise proposals when they plan to rent or buy real estate that costs more than $25,000.
A long-term beach lease for the remainder of the time period, which runs until June 30, 2014, will be signed later in the summer. The total cost of the beach lease is $600,000.
Read explained the reason for the short-term lease and the procedure selectmen must follow under state law.
Under Massachusetts general laws chapter 30B, Read said, the town is required to both solicit proposals when renting real estate and adver- tise the request for proposals in a newspaper to inform the public. However, the law states that town officials may waive the advertisement requirement
if they believe it will not bene- fit the town’s interest “because of the unique qualities or loca- tion of the property.”
Therefore if a town offi- cially determines that a piece of real estate is considered “unique,” it can publish the determinations and their rea- sons in the Massachusetts state central register for thirty days. The Central Register is a pub- lication of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts containing information regarding public contracting opportunities, con- tract awards and related infor- mation.
After the 30 days, the long- term lease can be executed.
Selectmen voted not to advertise the lease as it doesn’t benefit the Town’s interests “because of the unique quali- ties or location of the property needed by the town,” according to the motion. The reasons given were the following: “the property is located immediately adjacent to, and comprises part of, Duxbury Beach and provides access to the beach; similar access to the beach is not possible from other loca- tions as the result of the local geography and environmental limitations in the area; and the parcel provides much needed parking for and access to the beach for members of the public.
Before approving the
short-term lease, selectmen asked if the beach’s owners, the Duxbury Beach Reserva- tion, found the terms accept- able. Reservation president Margaret Kearney said her or- ganization understood the new process and the reasons behind it.
“Yes, we have been in contact with the town manager and the town counsel and it is acceptable,” Kearney said.
After the 30-day notification in the Central Register, Read said he will bring the long-term lease to selectmen to sign later this summer. The town had been paying $400,000 to lease the beach for many years, but in March, town meeting voters approved an increase to $600,000. The Reservation said the additional money is needed to help repair and restore the beach when it is damaged by storms.
When asked why the leasing procedure was different, Read said: “It’s compliance with 30B. It is different from what has happened in the past, but it will be an annual occurrence.”
Read said that while the town will follow the central register notification process annually, this will be done be fore the beach lease expires so there will be no need for a short term lease in the future.