The Town of Hull has sent notice of a “date of taking” Graves Light away from its owners as it proceeds with its land grab across the county line.
“Dave Waller was shocked when he received a property tax bill from the town of Hull last year seeking to collect taxes on Graves Light, a lighthouse that he bought at federal auction in 2013. He got another surprise in the mail more recently, when the town tax collector sent him a letter saying that a ‘date of taking’ would be announced soon,” the Boston Globe reported.
The Globe‘s local news reporter Emily Sweeney broke the story on May 6. She has followed the Hull annexation attempt since last November.
Graves Ledge, on which the lighthouse stands, is the last piece of unincorporated land in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
The Town of Hull watched the Wallers’ seven-year restoration and renovation of Graves Light and waited until the work was almost done before it presented the family with a tax bill to lay claim to the project. Hull attempted to fine the Graves owners $25,000 a day until it stopped renovations and submitted to town authority.
Hull’s actions drew outrage and ridicule from many town residents and others around Boston Harbor.
‘Date of Taking’ to be followed by ‘Instrument of Taking’
“Since Hull sent that first tax bill last year, Waller has been locked in a legal battle with the town to prove that the lighthouse is not part of Hull. The matter is currently in Land Court,” the Globe reported. “But that didn’t stop the tax collector from sending out the notice about the ‘date of taking.'”
“A ‘Date of Taking’ will be announced, followed by the recording of an ‘Instrument of Taking’ at the Plymouth County Registry of Deeds,” the town of Hull told the Wallers in a letter.
Hull town counsel James B. Lampke, a driving force behind the effort to annex Graves, “said there are no plans for a tax taking, despite what the letter says,” according to the Globe.
“There’s no tax taking at this time,” Lampke said in the Globe. “There is no tax taking and I do not anticipate a tax taking.”
“It’s weird, because [the town is] filing an ‘Instrument of Taking’ in Plymouth County Registry of Deeds,” Dave Waller told the Globe, “but Graves Ledge is in Suffolk County, so I’m not sure how that will work out for them.”