EASTHAM — The town could soon gain up to eight units of affordable or “workforce” housing, thanks to two sale agreements and two property takings for nonpayment of taxes.
Town meeting voters will be asked to buy the Friends of the Council on Aging Thrift Shop on Massasoit Road and the Beach Plum Motor Lodge on Route 6, both century-old town landmarks.
Two other properties, Unit A of the Marsh View Condominium and Unit 1 of the Salt Pond Condominium, both on Route 6, were acquired by the town after several years of legal action against delinquent owners.
Eastham’s five-year housing production plan calls for using town-owned property to create at least 35 new units of affordable and workforce rental housing by the end of 2023, and 75 units by 2026. Housing is considered affordable if its price allows those earning under 80 percent of the area median income (AMI) to buy or rent. Workforce housing refers to dwellings within the budgets of those earning between 80 and 120 percent of AMI.
The thrift shop, at 580 Massasoit Road, will remain in operation if the sale is approved. The property already has a two-bedroom apartment on the second floor. In November, the Independent reported that the building’s owners, Donald and Virginia Delaney, were looking to sell. Town Administrator Jacqui Beebe said she contacted the owners before the property was listed and worked out an agreement with them to purchase it for $450,000. The assessed value is $367,500.
The community preservation committee has approved the use of $450,000 in historic preservation funds for the purchase, Beebe reported on Monday.
Pat Lariviere, president of the Friends of the Council on Aging, said that she is not assuming that the sale is a done deal. “We don’t know what’s going to happen,” she said. “We have our fingers crossed, we have our toes crossed, that the town will approve it.” But, she added, “we really haven’t been looking for another place because we recognize a thrift shop really can’t afford a high rent.”
The upstairs apartment will be ready for occupancy in the fall, Beebe said. According to the Eastham Historical Commission, the building is the oldest on Cape Cod that has been in continuous commercial use — it was built between 1871 and 1874. “When you start losing these older homes, you really do start losing community character,” Beebe said. “It’s an iconic building for us.”
The Beach Plum Motor Lodge is at 2555 State Highway, across Route 6 from the police station. The town has an agreement in place to purchase the 1,240-square-foot main house and its five detached motel units for $700,000, with an additional $60,000 earmarked for septic work. Its assessed value is $395,900.
“What’s unique about the property is that it has an approved seven-bedroom septic system,” Beebe said. “Hopefully, we’ll get four or five units of housing out of it.”
The main house, built in 1900, has six rooms, including two bedrooms, one bathroom, and a sun room. “It’s a beautiful home,” Beebe said. “It’s all very private.” Converting the motel units will require construction as well as passage of a motel conversion zoning bylaw. That zoning change, in addition to the property sale, will be on the town meeting warrant in May.
Gloria Moll, who has owned the Beach Plum Motor Lodge since 1978, said she preferred not to discuss the sale before it is final.
The town also recently completed tax takings on two halves of two separate duplexes across the road from Salt Pond at 2815 and 2835 State Highway. The other half of the Salt Pond and Marsh View Condominiums still belong to David Delgizzi, the landlord who provides affordable but rundown housing to dozens of people across the Outer Cape. The Delgizzi family has a lengthy history of violating health and other town regulations at their properties.
The Delgizzi family now owns 17 properties across the Outer Cape: eight in Eastham, eight in Truro, and one in Provincetown. The family’s notable holdings include the Lobster Shanty restaurant in Eastham and the Truro Motor Inn.
The town began the process of taking the two condominiums in 2015 for $33,000 in unpaid taxes. Because the Land Court process gives the owner time to pay off the debt and reclaim the property, the town did not officially take ownership of the two properties until June and September 2020, respectively.
In the last several years, 10 tax lien cases have been filed for 13 properties owned by the Delgizzis statewide, according to court records. This year, the family owes more than $9,000 in taxes on four of their Eastham properties.
One of the condos has three bedrooms and two bathrooms. The other has two bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms. Both units are 1,700 square feet. They have assessed values of $267,900 and $270,300. Beebe said the town is currently making a list of repairs that need to be completed. She also said that the town will keep the Delgizzis’ tenants in place and is working to draw up leases.