I am writing in response to the cancellation of the Seaport East project and to the PNR editorial, Waterfront Waiting Game.
First, may I draw your attention to an apparent error? Mayor Larry Cross stated a couple of weeks ago that the current lease on those lands doesn’t expire until 2054, another 40 years from now but your editorial speaks of 24 years remaining on the lease. Perhaps a clarification is in order.
Furthermore, as Mayor Cross pointed out, this parcel of land has several impediments to development that include height restrictions, significant construction costs because of landfill issues, contaminated landfill and long term leasehold arrangements. I wonder if the vocal resisters of the recent proposition have any other ideas that they might propose, bearing in mind the above impediments that have restricted the developer.
I attended the information session sponsored by the developer and it was clarified to me this project would have been a strata-type of project and, as such, all of the land would have become common property to the development, owned by all of the owners in the project and not retained by the developer. The transfer of land was needed by the developer in order to sell the homes to be built. Otherwise, who would purchase a home on leased land?
Finally, I think it important to state that Sidney is dealing with a reputable developer. With family in the area and offices in Sidney SWP is not a develop and run operation. This developer makes significant contributions to the well -being of our town and I believe that their commitment to the town would have meant building a quality project. I hope that the near future might see further discussions regarding the Seaport East property so that it doesn’t languish in its current state for another 40 years.
C. Ralph Hayes
Editor’s Note: Official lease documents from the municipality show a 24-year term, followed by two, eight-year optional renewal terms, meaning the lease could end in 24 years at the earliest.