OTISFIELD — The number of Heniger Park leases that have been returned to selectmen remains at one as the new year begins.

The fate of 36 other lease agreements is unknown.

Administrative Assistant Marianne Izzo-Morin said Monday that no new leases have been returned since the Board of Selectmen received the first signed 99-year lease agreement for Heniger Park on Dec. 17.

Lot No. 2, leased by James McKenna of Arlington, Mass., was signed, notarized and returned to selectmen. It assures him he will have a new lease to use the lot on Pleasant Lake for the next 99 years, pending approval of an environmental review.

The lease termination agreements must be signed and returned to the Town Office by April 30. Any current leaseholder who agrees in writing on or before that date will be offered a new 99-year lease, effective July 1.

The new lease provides a guarantee for leaseholders that their camps will be available to their families and future generations. It also revises the financial agreement to benefit the town’s tax base. It is expected to increase the tax base from 37 leaseholders from $10,000 to $98,000 annually, based on the current tax rate.


Some camp owners say the move has priced them out of their long-held camps, forcing them to put their property on the market.

At least two camps are now being marketed by Bearfoot Realty of Oxford: a camp at 53 Heniger Park Road, listed for $179,000; and one at 77 Heniger Park Road, listed for $242,000.

Monica LaVerdiere of Bearfoot Realty said the company has also had some conversations with a few other Heniger Park camp owners about the possibility of marketing their camps, but there have been no decisions made yet.

Town officials say the camps have generally been passed down from generation to generation through the years, and very few have been sold during the past 50 years since the town began leasing lots.

The camps are on the shore of Pleasant Lake and on leased property.

“It definitely has its challenges,” said LaVerdiere of marketing property on leased land.


The 100-acre parcel of mostly wooded land on the west shore of Pleasant Lake was left to the town in 1943 by noted Broadway producer Jacob Heniger. His will stipulated that the Board of Selectmen decide what would be done with the real estate.

Selectmen and members of the Heniger Park Reassessment Committee worked for many months during the past two years to come up with what they believe is a more equitable plan to address leases at the park that some said benefited the leaseholder at the town’s expense.

Under the terms of the new agreement, the 99-year lease will be countersigned by selectmen and become effective when the lease agreement is signed by the leaseholder and selectmen. The agreement will not become effective until the town confirms that the leaseholder is not in default under the current lease and is satisfied that after an environmental inspection, there are no adverse environmental conditions on the leaseholder’s lot.

The environmental conditions mean the septic system serving the lot is adequately sized, maintained and properly functioning, and there are no adverse erosion shoreland conditions at the lot that need to be addressed. Each leaseholder must contact the code enforcement office to schedule an inspection. If any conditions are identified, the leaseholder has until Sept. 30, 2015, to correct them.

If the April 30 deadline is missed, the leaseholder will no longer be eligible for the 99-year lease agreement.

If the leaseholder decides not to take the amnesty agreement, selectmen say there is no guarantee what will happen in the future.

Under the current terms, those who do not accept the amnesty agreement will have leases extended to no longer than 2040, but those terms could change at anytime under a new Board of Selectmen.


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