Former caretaker outlines terms of Beavertail lease
Editor's note: The following letter was sent to the Town Council .
I read with interest the story concerning the apparent refusal of the Beavertail Lighthouse caretaker to vacate the property in the Oct. 12 edition of the Press. Having been the caretaker immediately prior to Mr. Shutt, I would like to clarify a few issues, which were not stated correctly.
My family and I moved into the lighthouse in August 1993. At that time, the lighthouse caretaker's quarters were in less than satisfactory living conditions and required a substantial amount of work to make the building more comfortable and livable. The conditions of the lease were basically, live there without paying rent, perform work to keep
up exterior appearances and pay for all improvements (interior or exterior), excluding major capital projects such as a failed septic system, etc. Fred Pease was the Town Council president at that time.
The previous caretaker was in for a very long time, possibly 20 years plus or minus. The duration of my initial lease was for a period of three years, with an option to renew for another three years, if we put significant money and effort into making improvements.
My lease agreement was extended and rewritten by the town in May 1995. The Town Council felt that much work was accomplished during my initial time spend there and as such the lease was extended with a new end date of April 2001.
I continued to perform additional renovation and restoration work at the caretaker's quarters and fully enjoyed both the beautiful location of the lighthouse and the accomplishments of renovating and improving the building. My family and I did not utilize the entire length of the lease term, and moved out in July 1999. The public notice for the opening of the caretaker's position prompted many responses and plenty of people stood ready to move in as soon as the place was empty.
In essence, my term as caretaker was slightly under six years.
I feel strongly that whomever is put into the position as caretaker should undertake improvement projects on their own, as well as continuing the requisite lawn cutting and exterior ground upkeep duties. After all, the rent is free and the view is priceless. The town should generally check up on the caretaker's progress yearly or every 18 months and agree on what types of projects would be suitable. I would think it would be interesting to hear from Mr. Shutt as to what projects he undertook and completed during his time as caretaker. In this way, the town can get an understanding as to what should be expected from the appointed caretaker and what level of effort is not acceptable. I have a list of work performed during my tenure as caretaker and would be happy to provide you with a copy.
The idea that rules changed while Mr. Shutt was living there is preposterous. The position may be clarified even further than before, but the intent remains to give a family a wonderful opportunity to create some beautiful memories, perform some helpful caretaking chores and save up some money before moving out to the homeowning or rental world.
I sincerely hope that Mr. Shutt's lease agreement is held to the standards intended and the next applicant is allowed to move in as expeditiously as possible. The Turillo family is an excellent selection and I am sure they will do a commendable job. It would be nice for them to settle in before it starts to get cold and windy at Beavertail Point.