The Chesterfield Inn, in its prior incarnation, advertised its access to the private beach owned by the ALC (Auldwood-Lanark-Chesterfield) Association of homeowners.
Every house on the market which has access to that beach also advertises same in its ads. Owners and brokers understand this is a valuable asset. Not every home on Auldwood, Lanark and Chesterfield Roads has access; some lack access because they're on the wrong side of the road. So clearly the right to use this beach is a valuable asset.
But how valuable? The assessor doesn't yet seem to think it is worth much. Where smaller waterfront lots (as small as 1/3 of the size of the ALC beach, at 0.17 acre) are assessed at $1,181,250, and one of 0.19 acre is valued at $1,372,900, the private association beach of 0.54 acre is valued at a mere $158,520, and in 2008 pays an annual property tax of ... are you ready? $258 -- less than a dollar a day! On a property that would likely would have sold for at least $2,000,000 at the time of the recent revaluation.
That beach is about 0.54 acre. Here are the assessments (the 70% figure) on nearby waterfront lots:
#2 Ocean Drive North .40 acres $1,137,190
#6 ODN 0.35 acres $1,253,040
#10 ODN 0.26 acres $1,199,390
#14 ODN 0.23 acres $1,131,750
#18 ODN 0.22 acres $1,099,100
#20 ODN 0.23 acres $1,156,730
#22 ODN 0.18 acres $1,094,940
#26 ODN 0.22 acres $1,156,040
#40 ODN 0.21 acres $1,257,000
#42 ODN 0.18 acres $1,210,940
#46 ODN 0.17 acres $1,181,250
#48 ODN 0.16 acres $1,160,000
#50 ODN 0.33 acres $1,362,330
#60 ODN 0.19 acres $1,372,900
And the properties within the ALC community are not assessed with higher land values than surrounding streets that are not part of ALC. (The $2 million difference could be divided evenly among all the member properties.)
So now a high-price small hotel is going to be able to advertise (or simply offer) its rights to this lovely beach, subsidized by the rest of Stamford's taxpayers.
And ALC's beach is not the only one so underassessed; I'm aware of at least 4 others.
I hope this will be corrected, and that the ALC members will be asked to pay their fair share of Stamford's taxes. Their signs say "no trespassing." They should be asked to pay the full value, instead of 5% or 10% of that value.
Just because an injustice is traditional, and they're used to it, doesn't mean that the rest of us should be forced to maintain it.
Unless some of us are judged to be more special than others, or to have smarter lawyers than we-the-people.