To the editor: Wednesday morning I became aware of an article published in the Nantucket Current with a headline reading that my company refuses to pay a $341K transfer fee to the Land Bank. While I understand the items discussed about my project the prior Tuesday afternoon only recently became a matter of public knowledge, I will take this opportunity to clarify that the assessment and lien are (and have been for some time) the subject of a good faith dispute over how the Land Bank Commission exercises its authority under the Land Bank Act and its Rules and Regulations, and should not be simply characterized as a refusal to pay without further context.
Prior to Tuesday’s meeting, I personally engaged in discussions with several representatives of the Land Bank, including Commissioners, staff members, and their attorney concerning the details of an off-record transfer between my original investors and my company. To be clear, the off-record transfer was made for no consideration and involved no new third-parties. My desire was to mediate the disagreements over application of transfer fee rules privately with the Land Bank given the particular and unique circumstances of our case, but I now find myself the unsuspecting target of unfair and uninformed scrutiny.
My company has not refused to pay a transfer fee applicable to the change in underlying ownership, but only the extent to which the Land Bank’s Rules and Regulations impose that fee. As the largest provider of income-restricted housing on the island it is my position that, as a matter of policy, the Land Bank transfer fee should not be applied so inflexibly as to operate as an impediment to my ability to deliver an important resource to families in need. As a result of the Land Bank’s assessment and lien, monies that would otherwise expedite the construction of new single-family homes held for sale to qualifying households (i.e., households certified as earning less than 80 percent Area Median Income, or “AMI”) will instead be paid to the Land Bank and, presumably, be utilized to restrict more land for conservation that could otherwise be developed for the long list of families that are housing insecure.
Overall, my company and the development as a whole have been consistent supporters of the Land Bank’s purpose and mission. In the 10 years that we have been developing our project, no Richmond Company entity has ever avoided payment of the Land Bank Fee, unless with a valid exemption. Since the beginning of the project (2013), my company’s redevelopment of the former Glowacki junkyard has resulted in payments to the Land Bank in excess of $1,000,000 from ventures that I own or control, and has also directly generated payments of subsequent and intervening transactions that cumulatively reach payments to the Land Bank of transfer fees well in excess of $800,000.
Thank you for this opportunity to provide further context and to additionally thank those members of the public and local town leadership that endlessly support Richmond’s initiatives on Nantucket. We look forward to fulfilling our promise to the Nantucket community to provide safe, high-quality, and attainable housing options.
Very truly yours,
The Richmond Company, Inc.