After "Bidding War," Land Bank Buys Property On Cathcart Road

Jason Graziadei •

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One of the Land Bank's most popular waterfront properties is located at the end of Cathcart Road, among the few public beaches on the harbor where vehicles are allowed to drive.

In recognition of that popularity and to alleviate the pressure on the small parking lot for the beach area, the Land Bank on Wednesday purchased 14 Cathcart Road. The 1.12-acre lot is being acquired by the Land bank for $4.48 million.

The property will be used to create additional parking "to help meet the growing demand for public boating access, simultaneously alleviating the parking pressure on Cathcart Beach itself," the Land Bank stated in announcing the new acquisition.

The Cathcart Road purchase marks the Land Bank’s eleventh property purchase in 2022. It has now spent $46.8 million and added more than 25 acres to its portfolio this year after amassing a war chest of $50 million during the real estate boom of 2021.

Nantucket Land Bank chair Neil Paterson described the organization's pursuit of the property as a "bidding war" with neighboring land owners in Monomoy that wanted to keep the property in private hands. In 2021, the Monomoy Civic Association made a bid to limit access to the Land Bank's public harbor beach on Cathcart Road, a request that was unanimously rejected by the Land Bank Commission. The bidding war for 14 Cathcart Road, ultimately won by the Land Bank, was seen by Paterson as a continuation of that dispute.

"Yes, we paid more than we should have," Paterson said. "But it's still a price that's worth it to preserve public access to the water. That's one of our core missions. It's a win for the local people who have a mooring."

The Land Bank receive its revenue from the 2 percent transfer tax on most island real estate transactions that was established in its enabling legislation approved by the state in 1983. Since then, it has acquired more than 3,400 acres on Nantucket, and along with the island’s other private conservation organizations, protected more than 60 percent of the island from further development.

"Beyond creating parking, the remainder of the property will be managed as a park that enhances the natural attributes of the landscape, such as the existing native trees, shrubs, and meadow habitat exhibited on the site," the Land Bank stated on the Cathcart Road acquisition.

The Land Bank described a small house located on the property as being in "disrepair and needs significant work to be habitable. Once evaluated, if determined to be surplus to the Land Bank’s needs, the structure will be made available in accordance with our affordable housing policy."

Property records show the seller was the estate of Scott Chamberlin, of Greenwich, Conn, which has owned the property since 2009, when it sold for $1.85 million.


Back in 2021, the Monomoy Civic Association cited “intense pressure from overuse” as well as public urination, speeding along Cathcart Road and excessive noise, in asking the Land Bank to limit access to the Cathcart Road beach. The Monomoy homeowners told the Land Bank “the current situation does not appear to be sustainable. It does not reflect well on the Land Bank as stewards of open space on Nantucket.”

The Monomoy Civic Association submitted a series of “recommendations” to the Land Bank, including limiting vehicle traffic to drop-off only, limiting open hours to daylight only, evaluating the capacity of the parking area, an partnering with the civic association moving forward. The Land Bank committed to adding a porta potty to the property, but declined to take any action on the other requests.

“There’s been a slow erosion of public access and public rights, and from a personal point of view, I really dislike that,” Land Bank chair Neil Paterson said at the time. “If you don’t take a stand for the public on something like this, where’s your backbone?”

The purchase of 14 Cathcart Road on Wednesday appears to reaffirm that commitment.

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