I represented the sellers of a piece of land located at 0 Ridge Road, Marshfield which is located in Marshfield’s Humarock neighborhood from May, 2010 until its eventual sale in August, 2012. I am reminded of this sale due to a story that was published by Andrea Estes of The Boston Globe this morning entitled “Milton officials deliver a big tax bill to Senator Brian Joyce“. It seems as though the Town of Milton’s Assessor’s Office has increased the assessed value of Brian and Mary Joyce’s home at 95 Hinckley Road, Milton from $867,500 in 2016 to $1,322,800 in 2017 which is a 54% increase and, as a result, it has increased the Joyce’s real estate tax bill from $11,711 in 2016 to $18,073 in 2017 which is a 65% increase. Brian Joyce is not the most sympathetic figure due to his troubles as outlined in a story ran by The Boston Globe on February 17th entitled “FBI, IRS raid Canton law office of state Senator Brian Joyce“. My former clients, on the other hand, undoubtedly deserve sympathy.
I listed the property at 0 Ridge Road, Marshfield for $215,000 back in 2010 in hopes that it would be buildable. I knew there were regulatory hurdles to jump, including the threat of a potential lawsuit against the Town of Marshfield, but a $215,000 listing price was reasonable for waterfront land located directly on the South River. A huge addition along South River was being erected at 189 Ridge Road at the time that I was trying to sell 0 Ridge Road and it was located only a few lots down from 0 Ridge Road and, furthermore, 117 Ridge Road had been built in 2008 and 93 Ridge Road had just been built in 2010. Why couldn’t a new single family property be built at 0 Ridge Road?
I was open with my thoughts. I even wrote “This lot is perfect for an attorney who is partnered with a developer.” in my listing remarks. I had spoken with Jay Wennemer, the Conservation Agent for the Town of Marshfield a few times. My experiences with Jay were bad.
So here’s the creepy part. The Town of Marshfield Assessor’s Office raised the value of 0 Ridge Road, Marshfield from $34,400 in 2011 to $344,100 in 2012 which was a 1,000.29% increase in the value of the land in only one year. My sellers, which were comprised of an association of Ridge Road residents, were worried that they would no longer be able to pay the increased real estate taxes associated with the increased assessment so they decided to sell the property for only $35,000. I was beyond pissed because my ability to help my clients get the best deal was stripped from me by the, in my opinion, unethical and immoral actions of the Town of Marshfield’s Assessor’s Office.
How did this happen? Did the Assessor’s Office decide to increase the property value at the suggestion of Jay Wennemer? Did the Assessor’s Office act autonomously? And if so, how did it come to the consensus that the land, which was taxed as being unbuildable, since at least 1996, was now suddenly being taxed as being buildable? Was the Assesssor’s Office going by the information provided by my listing sheet like the Town of Milton’s Assessor’s Office did? If so, that’s the entirely wrong way of valuing properties for assessing purposes. Maybe Elizabeth A. Bates, MAA, of the Town of Marshfield’s Assessor’s Office can answer those questions?
I haven’t publicly mentioned this slight before now but the Brian Joyce news triggered my memory of the tit for tat that can permeate local governments like Milton’s and Marshfield’s. The Town of Marshfield screwed a group of Marshfield residents, the Ridge Road Association, who previously cared for the lot. What’s most enraging is that the Town of Marshfield reduced the assessment of Ridge Road from its high of $344,100 in 2012 to only $32,800 in 2014 which was after the purchase and sale of 0 Ridge Road was consummated.
Interested in buying or selling in Marshfield after reading this story? If so, here’s a map of properties currently available near 0 Ridge Road, Marshfield. Contact Hub Edge Realty, LLC now at (617) HUB-EDGE now.