SellRentC&C Blog
Nantucket Land Bank
February 07, 2023
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Nantucket Land Bank was established in 1984 by a special act of the Massachusetts Legislature to acquire, hold, and manage various open spaces for use by the general public. Initiated by the Planning Commission and adopted by the voters of Nantucket, the program gets funding from 2% transfer fees charged on property transfers within the Nantucket region.

The Nantucket Land Bank was the first of its kind, inspiring other regions to take on a similar system. It is administered by five elected Land Bank Commissioners and eleven full-time staff members are employed by the Commission, supported by part-time staff.

With responsible management and a regular flow of income, the Nantucket Land Bank remains a premier land bank for the public. It currently owns the island’s most important open spaces and endangered landscapes. The land bank provides waterfront access, promotes local agriculture, protects ecological resources, preserves scenic views, and creates recreational areas for residents and visitors to the island.

Nantucket Island has become a preferred destination for short- and long-term stays. If you are looking for a place to stay, Nantucket rentals have a wide range of housing solutions depending on your budget and needs.

What is the 2% Buyer Fee Charged by the Nantucket Land Bank?

Everyone who purchases land pays 2% of the property cost as an access fee before the real estate transfer. The fee is The Land Bank’s revenue and it’s used to acquire, hold, and manage different properties on the island for access and use by the general public.

There’s an exemption from the fee determined yearly by the land bank. As of January 2023, first-time buyers were exempted from paying the fee for the first $1,000,000 worth of their property. The land bank provides guidelines the buyer must meet to attain the exemption. One of the provisions is that you cannot sell the property within five years of its purchase.

The land bank considers the payment a fee and not a tax-deductible expense. You can’t claim a tax deduction for paying the buyer’s fee.

How Much Land Does Nantucket Own?

Nantucket Island measures 47.8 square miles, out of which more than 50% is under protection by the Nantucket Land Bank, the Nantucket Conservation Foundation, and other land trusts and restrictions. The Nantucket Land Bank currently owns 3373 acres of land. It also has 503.4 acres under permanent conservation laws held alone or with the Nantucket Land Council.

So far, the land bank has spent more than $332 million to purchase land on the island. These figures keep increasing as the land bank receives more money from land rates to buy more land. For example, in the financial year 2021, the land bank collected $18,793,370 in transfer fees. Out of which, it used $18,640,875 to acquire 31.37 acres of land.

What are the Most Commonly Used Land Bank Properties?

Even though the land bank has massive properties, some are more utilized than others. These include:

  • Beaches such as Surfside, 40th Pole, Ladies, Cisco, and Madaquecham, among others.
  • The Codfish Park playground is located in Sconset. It has enough space for kids and is enclosed on all sides.
  • Hinsdale Park is the newest playground for both kids and adults. The park is accessible by Old South Road and has playing fields, walking trails, a labyrinth, and more.
  • The 41-acre Gardner farm has some fantastic walking trails.
  • Sconset and Miacomet golf courses.

Are the Land Bank Properties Handicap-accessible?

The land bank is all about ensuring equal access to properties for the general public. So far, some of the handicap-accessible properties include Codfish Park, Hinsdale Park, Cisco Beach, and Sconset Golf Courses.

What are the Hunting Guidelines on the Land Bank Properties?

Most of the Nantucket Land Bank properties are open to hunting, except a few closed areas like Tupancy, Sanford Park, and parts of the Milestone Cranberry Bog. There are “no hunting” signs on walking trails where you can’t hunt to ensure human safety.

Pay attention to all the hunting season laws in the land bank, as they are all about enjoyment and the right use of the property. Ensure your dogs wear Orange vests for easy spotting. Report any hunting remains that have not been disposed of to the land bank office.

Hunting is allowed between ½ hour before sunrise and ½ hour before sunset. It is outlawed on Sundays.

What are the Safety Provisions at the Nantucket Land Bank?

The Nantucket Land Bank seeks to ensure you have a safe and enjoyable experience on its properties. As such, it has various safety rules, including:

  • With Nantucket having some of the highest tick-borne disease rates in the world, you need to keep safe by avoiding shrubs, tall grasses, and hanging branches. Stay on the trail and wear boots and long pants whenever possible. Also, check for ticks regularly.
  • Take note of the three shiny leaves and white berries known to be poisonous.
  • Wear bright clothing and put pets on leashes to avoid incidents during the hunting season.
  • Comply with Nantucket’s leash law to ensure your dog’s and other people’s safety.
  • Keep the land properties clean for everyone’s enjoyment. You are responsible for packing out your trash.
  • Not all dirt roads and passenger trails are always passable. Your best way to fully move around is to have a four-wheel-drive vehicle. At the same time, you might have to reduce the tire pressure when passing on some sandy patches.