Last Sunday, The Boston Globe published an article on the Lantana land swap.

Here’s a version of the letter that FBH Advocacy Co-chair, Bob Quinn, submitted to The Patriot Ledger on this issue.

Lantana Land Grab Not a Win-Win Situation
The Patriot Ledger reported on Saturday July 26, 2008 that the proposed purchase of more than 3.2 acres of the Blue Hills Reservation is one step closer to reality. The news article further reported that the Lantana owner, Paul Hart, described this proposal as a “win-win for everyone.” Nothing could be further from reality.Yes, this is a win for the Lantana, but it is great loss to the citizens and taxpayers of Massachusetts.

Yes, the Lantana will have a parking lot that is closer to its front door. This is a win for the Lantana function hall.

Yes, the value of the current Lantana parking lot will be greatly enhanced. Once Mr. Hart moves his parking onto to the land he is acquiring from the Blue Hills Reservation he will then be able to develop his existing parking area. This area can be developed for any of the following purposes: home improvement center, auto parts store, hotel, bank, or offices. The value of Mr. Hart’s property is greatly enhanced by this purchase. This is a win for Mr. Hart.

Unfortunately, the public does not share in these wins. Instead, the public loses, if this transaction is allowed to go forward.

First, the public loses because it is not getting anything close to the full fair market value for this property. Mr. Hart is going to purchase this property for $290,000.00. Yet this property, based upon the records of the Randolph Assessors Office has an estimated value in excess of $1,200,000.00. This is a loss for the taxpayers of Massachusetts.

Second, this is public parkland that is being taken by a private developer. The Commonwealth has long protected the scarce resources that have been set aside as public parklands. The state itself is limited in its ability to change the use of public parklands to other uses. There is no public benefit or public purpose that supports this transfer. Mr. Hart in his submissions to the state only lists the benefits that will be enjoyed by the Lantana patrons. There is no improvement to the environment, no transportation improvement, no public water supply that will be protected. The transfer of public parklands to a private developer without any public purpose sets a bad precedent. This is a loss to the citizens of the Commonwealth.

Robert Quinn
Co-chair, Advocacy Committee,
Friends of the Blue Hills