The Town Manager of Hull, our neighbor across the county line in Plymouth, has made a unilateral “land grab” to annex Graves Light and force us to pay property taxes, even though we were never part of the town. We’re not even in the same county.
We’re not going to let a town bureaucrat simply steal us, so we pled our case to the Massachusetts Land Court.
We’ll tell our own story after the the Land Court rules on the matter. So for now, we’ll just cite Hull Times Contributing Editor Christopher J. Haraden’s article published on October 22. As of today the newspaper’s website hasn’t been updated, so we can’t link to the story yet.
Here’s our side of it, as the Hull Times reported:
Dave Waller, who bought Graves Light in 2013, “said this week that his deed from the federal government describes the 10-acre property in terms of latitude and longitude and references Broad Sound Channel, a shipping route in the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area. Documents provided by a US Coast Guard office in Virginia indicated that ‘the property is not located within the corporate limits of any municipality’ a concept that [a lawyer for Hull] disputes . . . .”
“‘When we bought the place, [federal documentation] said it was unincorporated territory in Suffolk County,’ said Waller . . . .”
“Waller said he filed suit when the town refused to rescind a property tax bill in the fall of 2019, after he had completed substantial renovations to the lighthouse. . . . Records at the Hull Assessors’ office value the property at $274,100, resulting in a tax bill of $3,552.42 for fiscal 2000.”
“‘Hull kind of came along about six years afterward [from when Dave Waller bought Graves in 2013], and the town manager just claimed it,’ Waller said, recalling that the assessor’s office initially told him that the bill had been sent in error. ‘But then they called back and they spoke to the town manager and that it was correct.'”
“He said that Graves Light was not included on Hull’s assessing maps until shortly after that phone call.”
“As late as this week [October 22], the maps displayed did not show Graves Light on Map 61, although it is listed in the online property database.”
“‘You can’t just look out the window and decide to add something to the map,’ Waller said. ‘It’s more that it seems like a land grab that ruffled our feathers, and we didn’t think that was fair. It just seemed wrong.'”
There’s a lot more to the story, and we’ll link to the original Hull Times article once it’s online.