A little piece of White Horse Beach catches eye of the Open Space Committee

The Open Space Committee is looking to protect a small piece of White Horse Beach that was once a favored spot for sea mossers.

The plot of land is tiny, barely 1/5 of an acre. It came into the town’s possession a little under seven years ago after its owner failed to pay taxes on it. Now, the Open Space Committee wants the parcel transferred from the control of the Town Treasurer to the Conservation Commission. That would give the essentially unbuildable plot of beach even greater protection, Open Space Committee Chairman Betsy Hall told the Manomet Village Steering Committee last week.

Transfer of the land is on the warrant for this fall’s Town Meeting.

Previous owners of the land had permitted workers who collected sea moss to park their trucks and trailers there while they went into the bay, according to MVSC Member Randy Parker. He asked that this practice be allowed to continue. Town Planning Technician Patrick Farah said he said he had heard about the tradition, but didn’t have any documentation about it. He asked Parker to present what information he had to the Conservation Commission and the Marine and Environmental Affairs department.

Parker’s enthusiasm for the mossers was not shared by some in attendance. Mary Jane Justice, who owns a home next to the parcel said the mossers had been gone for years. She and others who lived nearby expressed concern that word would get out about the land and people would try to use it. The property is north of the Full Sail entrance and is connected to a private shared driveway.

While there is little that can be done with the parcel now, Hall said the land still needed additional protection. “In 20 years things can change. There are places people are building on right on the wetlands,” she said. It takes an act of the state legislature, along with approval of Town Meeting, the Board of Selectmen and the Conservation Commission to undo a conservation restriction, she said.

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