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Living on the Water, and Loving It

Saturday, April 23, 2005; Page A17

Regarding "High Housing Costs Chasing More Into Water; Lack of Property Taxes, Lower Fees Among Lures of Boat Living in D.C., Md." [Metro, April 18]:

Staff writer Amit R. Paley said that those who live on boats in marinas do not pay property taxes. That is misleading and a little less than the full truth. Marinas part with large sums in property taxes. Someone is paying those taxes. I submit that the tax is indirectly paid in the rent of the leaseholder and is no less a tax for being billed to the landlord rather than to the tenant.

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A similar argument about not paying property taxes could unfairly be made about the thousands of people who live in apartments but do not directly pay property taxes.

Also, the article failed to mention that each boat owner in Maryland has to pay a sales tax of 5 percent at the time of purchase and must buy an annual decal. The joys of living on the water are many, but avoiding taxes is not one of them.

-- Edwin F. Kelly


I was disappointed in Amit R. Paley's article, in which he characterized some of those who choose to live aboard boats as residents living in marginal conditions because they cannot afford to live on land. There are as many unique and diverse people who live aboard boats as there are reasons to forsake the "dry life" of owning or renting a home.

Four years ago, the mobility of the liveaboard lifestyle greatly appealed to me as an active-duty military officer. Since then I have enjoyed entertaining friends aboard, sunset dinners overlooking the water, a five-minute bicycle commute to work and the rare camaraderie of a diverse yet tightknit community in the heart of our city. It is no wonder that lawyers, doctors, business professionals, political leaders, military personnel, retirees and, yes, the less fortunate join the many others who choose to be threads in the rich tapestry of our nation's liveaboard communities.

-- Paul Lattanzi


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