Madison Beach Hotel Discussing Land Rental With Beach & Recreation Commission

Initial discussions mention the possibility of $11,000 compensation, but no agreement has been reached, town officials say.


Madison resident Walter Lippman Monday night said he objects to a proposal being considered by town officials to rent a grassy strip of land to the Madison Beach Hotel for $11,000 a year.

"$11,000 just doesn't cut it," Lippmann said during the public comment section of a Board of Selectmen meeting at town campus. He said he objected to it not only because it wasn't enough money, but also because he was concerned that the town leave itself open to liability claims if there is a problem on that piece of property.

Lippmann also said that the hotel, which has undergone a multi-year renovation and rebuilding process, promised it would repave Parker Avenue, which runs behind the hotel, after the project was done. Hotel officials have set the latest opening date for May 1, 2012, after many delays.

"Parker Avenue was supposed to be repaved and as of 22 minutes ago, it was not repaved," Lippmann said, during the meeting. He asked the selectmen to make sure that the hotel fulfill all of their obligations.

Lippmann asked the Board of Selectmen to bring any decisions relating to the hotel before town meeting.

Selectman Joe MacDougald said he too was troubled by the idea of the "land lease," as described by Lippmann.

First Selectman Fillmore McPherson said it was "not a land lease as such. Beach & Recreation is in discussion with the hotel about a rental, just like they rent out the Surf Club for weddings."

"I would posit it isn't like renting the Surf Club. I'd like to see that come before the board [of Selectmen]" MacDougald said.

McPherson said following the meeting that Beach & Recreation was in discussions with Madison Beach Hotel to rent the little grassy strip adjacent to hotel property for $11,000, but that there has been no agreement. When asked whether such a deal would have to come before the Board of Selectmen, McPherson said he thought it would.

Discussions with Madison Beach Hotel about the grassy strip have been the subject of several discussions and a town meeting. On October 26, 2009, voters in town were asked the town should give Madison Beach Hotel approximately 10,716 square feet of property next to hotel property, including "a portion of the grass area to the south of the Madison Beach Hotel property" and "a strip of land which is approximately 40 feet wide extending to he mean high water mark on the west side of West Wharf Beach" in exchange for the Fish House building at 91 West Wharf Road, which included more than 11,000 square feet and 102 feet of waterfront.

Madison residents voted against that proposal, 1,539 to 1,245, with about 20 percent of the town turning out.

More recently, in June 2011, the town discussed with the hotel the possibility of a deal that would allow Madison Beach Hotel, through a long-term lease or other means, to obtain and use the town-owned grassy area in front of the hotel. In exchange, Madison Beach Hotel would give the town $100,000 and a triangular-shaped property adjacent to West Wharf Beach.

Cathy Marsh Photography April 11, 2012 at 01:53 AM
You guys are talking about valet parking. Valet parking can cost $10-20 dollars a car. And how many cars attend a wedding function. 100 ?? And how fast do the valet driver drive over the "bumps" of Surf club road when the football, soccer, softball and baseball games and practices are in session. Wedding season will be from April through October. Just when all our kids are down there. No one has discussed SAFETY. and SPEED. And how come that same grassy area cannont be used by the residents who want to put boats down at Garvin Park. I have heard Scott from Beach and Rec suggest that they can't do more spaces because all those boats cannot fit on the beach at the same time. But they are not ever always there. Count the boats that participated in the WEd and Friday night regattas. Let us taxpaying sailors use more of that green grass strip before it goes to patrons of the new hotel. Why was this parking matter not negotiated with the almost largest taxpayer before hand. Why didn't the neighbors complain more ? Why not have the owner purchase the "Dolly" and then demolish it and they can have two spaces. Not that the neighbors would like that either. $10 dollars a car x 50 cars for 50 weddings is over $25,000. Let's be more reasonable about the revenue. Oh give him what he wants, he is the big cheese in town..... until his exit strategy goes into place.
C Mills April 11, 2012 at 12:16 PM
First I truly hope MBH is a big success. However, not at the expense to the town or the neighborhood. $11,000 price is absurd. The value of this little piece of grass was set by the owners themselves with their offered land swap. At a minimum, the cost of rental ought to be the equivalent of the capitalized cost of purchasing the property that was offered as a swap plus the $100,000, MBH recently offered. Also, the town should be able to cancel the lease, if/when MBH is in violation of any of the many critical covenants it promised such as valet parking and noise restrictions. Depending on costly courts to assure compliance are not practical. It is not the town's fault that the MB Hotel used grandfathering to ram through a design that is way too big for the site with parking less than half what is needed and no open land for outside events. While the town can perhaps provide some help, it is not taxpayers' responsibility or in the taxpayers' interest to compromise the most important tax generating asset of our town - the highly assessed private homes along the shore for an individual's commercial gain
tom burland April 12, 2012 at 12:14 AM
The people spoke about selling the strip of land and the beach between the wharf and the strip of beach the wharf already owns. This is renting the land that the MBH has used for more than 10 years for free
Graham April 12, 2012 at 01:00 AM
I am in favor of leasing the land to MBH. This will a great amenity for the people of Madison and I see no reason to not do this out of spite. I am personally looking forward to a May 1st openning.
Emile Geisenheimer August 23, 2012 at 04:15 PM
I voted for it too! But now they are violating zoning variance by having rock concerts every Thursday night and outdoor movies on Tuesdays! The deal on the grassy strip should end after this season.


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