There’s a contrived controversy cooking in Cohasset. 1 James Island Way is a large lot of land on which a 7,823 square foot home is being proposed by the new owners, John and Jane Steinmetz, and some of the old neighbors are pissed. 1 James Island Way, Cohasset was cut out of a 10.58 acre lot located at 428 Atlantic Avenue, Cohasset. Here’s the map:
The Cohasset Mariner and The Patriot Ledger have done a very nice job of covering the story; the first story, from July 24th, is entitled “James Island, Cohasset construction has neighbors up in arms” and the second story, from August 2nd, is entitled “Conservation Commission weighs pros, cons of large Cohasset house project“. The Boston Globe then picked up the story and ran a nice synopsis on August 7th entitled “Cohasset family’s plan to build ‘dream home’ runs up against neighbors’ view“. I think that all three stories, combined, give a nice overview of the proceedings.
I’m picking sides. I’m picking John and Jane Steinmetz. I can’t tell you how badly this smacks of NIMBYism; NIMBY an acronym for Not In My Back Yard. There has never been any organized group that has been in favor of any ecological preservation of James Island, the supposed battle cry, until a Facebook page popped up sometime in July entitled “Save James island Cohasset“. And why would there be since the land has been privately owned? And why didn’t the group try to buy the land at any time in the past if they were so worried about the property’s ecological future? They’re worried that their house isn’t the best or the biggest in the neighborhood. They’re worried about their views. They’re worried, most importantly, about the values of their properties. What these people don’t understand is that the new house, if built as the drawings suggest, will only help to increase the value of their own properties. I don’t blame all the neighbors because there are some that support the proposed construction.
I’ve been dealing with land sales for many years and I’m going to offer a bit of advice for buyers of land. Don’t buy any land unless you are 100% sure that the land will be approved. There’s a term that real estate agents, including me, like to throw out called “by right” but “by right” isn’t always a slam dunk. A sometimes overlooked but very important detail when dealing with land is that the conservation commission wields a lot more power in cases of land abutting water than the building department. I just went through this with a property that I’m involved with in Stoughton that’s located within the buffer zone of a pond. Be careful!
I’m sure that John and Jane Steinmetz were advised by various experts but buying any land without approvals can be a risky proposition. Maybe the sellers of 1 James Island Way didn’t want to wait for the approval process? Maybe the Steinmetzes thought that they’d get a better deal if they took the risk? I don’t know the specifics of the deal. The Steinmetzes paid $1,200,000 for the land but they could be left with a large lot that may be deemed unbuildable if the neighbors prevail and that could be a very expensive mistake. I’m hoping that the powers that be in Cohasset side with the Steinmetzes.
My old football coach, Robert “Bob” Silvia, is the Chief of the Cohasset Fire Department and I’m sure that he wouldn’t have given his approval if he thought that there’d be any issues with gaining access to the home in the case of a fire. He’s a pragmatic and shrewd guy and he also happens to be a defensive genius so his opinion is as good as gold. Go Skippers!
There’s a Cohasset Planning Board meeting scheduled for tonight at 7 PM, according to a Notice of Public Hearing that appeared in The Patriot Ledger on August 5th. Grab your seats and get the popcorn!
Disclosure: I attended Cohasset High School with Juliana Chittick-Tiryaki and Benjamin “Ben” Chittick. Juliana is an architect for the project at 1 James Island Way and is an owner of Tiryaki Architectural Design.
Are you looking for land in Cohasset? Here’s the land that’s currently being offered for sale in the MLS: