I would like to propose a possible answer to “The mystery of coastal property no one wants—Stonington deals with properties seized for nonpayment of taxes [The Working Waterfront, May 2014]” by Craig Idlebrook.

I love Stonington. If I could, I would move there—I love everything about it (except maybe the long, harsh winters, but even they have their positives). I have spent time there every summer for the last 15 years, years of some fairly significant change. The establishment of Opera House Arts is one of the hugely positive changes during this time period. As for the coastal property issue, here is what I see:

Every year has brought more and more home buyers “from away” looking for a summer place with an ocean view, resulting in higher taxes for year-round residents, most of whom have lived and worked in Stonington all their lives, many for generations.

As I wrote to this publication back in 2010, it is very clear to me that the rise of property values (as a result of second-home buyers) has forced out the people who should be living there; and deep water access for fishermen is almost non-existent. It seems to me that the state should find ways to address the needs of its year-round residents before the needs of part-timers. The health of the state depends largely on keeping its people working at their craft and contributing to the state’s coffers, not relying on state funds to live.

Is there no way to change the tax codes to benefit full-time residents over part-time residents? Is there no way to ensure that a certain percentage of each municipality’s waterfront is reserved for fishermen (or at least have clear access to a mooring)? Summer people, like me, have the option of living here for a couple of months; locals need to live here for their work and to perpetuate their family heritage.

Surely, any program that addressed the above issues would mean that less properties would end up in the hands of summer residents, who may be less invested in the community and the island (I say “may” because of the many who are invested in the community, and do give back), and instead continue to be owned by locals. If there were more incentives for fishermen and other local business people to own year-round waterfront property, there would be steady income to the town as well as increased economic growth and stability. And there would be no need, or at least less need, for expensive litigation.

This beautiful town of Stonington has so much going for it. It seems to me that just a bit more assistance for the locals, many of whom, as Selectman Brewer put it in the article, “will go without to pay their taxes,” would help Stonington over the hump of inflated property values and the higher taxes that go with them, and usher in a tangible, year-round recovery.

That is my hope and prayer.

Elisabeth Quigley lives in Cos Cob, Conn.