Greensboro Association Position on Caspian Beach Potential Sale

The Greensboro Association has sent a letter to the Greensboro Select Board supporting their efforts to come up with an equitable, community based solution which maintains local control of the Caspian Public Beach and importantly, does not change the use of the beach to all area residents. Copies of this letter, which was drafted in response to a request from the Select Board and to rapidly developing events regarding the Beach, were distributed at a meeting on Monday night in Greensboro. A letter has also been sent to the editor at the Hardwick Gazette stating our position.

The GA position has been developed by a subgroup of GA members chaired by Andy Dales.

Hardwick has owned the public beach for several decades, and Greensboro has viewed the property as not subject to state tax assessment since it is recreational and for the public good. For many years, both Hardwick and Greensboro, plus the GA, have contributed to the upkeep and maintenance of the beach, and to the important task of detecting incoming boats for Invasive Species like Milfoil. Last year, the State of Vermont found the property was not tax exempt, and forced Greensboro to assess Hardwick approximately $10,000 in property Tax. Hardwick is contesting this judgement in the courts, but is also understandably searching for other ways to mitigate the tax burden while keeping the property open and usable to all community residents. The Greensboro Association fully understands and sympathises with the Hardwick Select Boards tax situation, and has committed to working with the Greensboro Select Board and the Hardwick Select Board to develop a solution.

 

5 replies
  1. Robert Twiss
    Robert Twiss says:

    Would the Greensboro Land Trust be interested in taking over the property? I don’t know hwat that would do to its tax status, but I am appalled that a property that is essentially a public park should be considered taxable. Is there some other way to turn it into a locally-controlled public park? I support the GA efforts to help find a solution that will maintain the current use for the property.

    Reply
    • gaadmin
      gaadmin says:

      Thanks for your comment. Many people in Greensboro and Hardwick are thinking about the best way through this. A viable solution certainly involves no taxes and providing a legal guarentee to keep the beach as a public park usable to all. More to come.

      Reply
  2. Norman Polston
    Norman Polston says:

    Caspian Beach.
    I propose that 4 other investors besides me buy the beach from Hardwick. Might think about forming a non-profit organization to handle management and maintenance, charge entrance fee to help defray costs, solicit donations. Maybe eventually deed the beach back to Greensboro. Lots of other ideas. Who will join me or willing to talk more about this approach?
    Norm Polston

    Reply
  3. Linda Ely
    Linda Ely says:

    Hi Norm – thanks for weighing in. There is understandable annoyance in Hardwick that they are being assessed for taxes (and many in Greensboro share this annoyance which has been forced on the community by the state), and there is equally understandable concern in Hardwick regarding any sale of the beach which would limit the ability of Hardwick residents to use it as it has been used for decades. I have not heard anyone in Greensboro who feels Hardwick is being unreasonable. Hardwick can sell to whomever they think will maintain their rights, so anyone who they would consider as a potential purchaser would need to be a trusted friend or organisation, and would need to guarantee a long term legal protection for Hardwicks free and fair use.

    It would be great if there was a way through which would combine legal provisions for long term free use to Hardwick, joint local Hardwick and Greensboro control as we have it now, and sale to whoever would have no state tax liability.

    The crux of the problem is the taxes, which very understandably Hardwick does not want to pay. If the Town of Greensboro owned the property, there would be no taxes due – likewise, if the F&G owned it. One route maintains local control – the other route gives state control. Private ownership would be subject to tax – as would the Land Trust. So, there are several moving pieces at the moment.

    Reply
  4. Linda Ely
    Linda Ely says:

    One last point – in my personal opinion any option involving a use fee for beach users would be dead in the water. I don’t think Hardwick would entertain anything with this option, although I can’t speak for them.

    Reply

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