Selectmen give final approval to sell McLaury House
Updated 6:08 am, Thursday, September 10, 2015
It’s a done deal.
The Board of Selectmen on Wednesday morning gave the final approval needed to sell town-owned property at 99 Myrtle Ave.
The property, also known as the Emily McLaury House, will be sold for $623,000, which is $3,000 less than the buyer, the highest bidder, had offered, said Selectman Helen Garten, who oversaw the sales process.
This is because minor repairs are needed and the town has agreed to take $3,000, as a credit, off the selling price, she explained.
She said the town will also be keeping a public easement, which the town will maintain.
Since the house is designated a local historic property, and because it is visible from all four sides, any changes to the house will need to be approved by the Historic District Commission, she noted.
“This is a very good result for the town and the buyer,” she said.
“The outcome is well beyond my expectations,” said First Selectman Jim Marpe.
He said he wasn’t sure the town would even get any bids for the property, adding he was “astounded by the quality” of the offers.
There were six bids for the property, five above the $589,000 list price, Garten said, adding 90 people attended an open house for the property and the town “immediately received offers.”
She said the sale had already won approval from the Planning and Zoning Commission, the Historic District Commission, the Board of Finance and the Zoning Board of Appeals before the transaction could become final.
By moving the property onto the tax rolls, it will generate an estimated $4,800 in property taxes, according to Dewey Loselle, the town’s operations director.
Loselle said the sale was an “arduous process, but worth it.”
The only item still pending is for a leal advertisement of the variance approved by the ZBA Tuesday night to be publised. There’s a mandatory 15-day waiting period to see if anyone files an appeal, he said.
“If there is none, we can close,” Loselle said. That can be about a month from now, said Garten.
On Tuesday night, the ZBA approved a variance to redraw the lot line between 99 Myrtle Ave. and 35 Elm St., which is a parking lot, splitting the two parcels. The lot is also part of the 0.7-acre. town-owned property.
Last week, the Board of Finance gave its approval for the town to sell the property, despite a last-minute pitch by former Representative Town Meeting member Richard Lowenstein. He asked the board to consider leasing the property for $1 a year to Homes with Hope, an agency whose clients “are in desperate need of housing.”
Lowenstein on Tuesday again said he didn’t see the hardship needed for the ZBA granting the variance. “There is no basis in law at all,” he said.
He also suggested the town could lease property. He added the town had many years to change the conformity of the property.
Resident Michael Calise asked the ZBA to turn the application down, also citing the lack of a hardship. “There is absolutely none,” he said. He said the town could do a map change instead.
He said the town is saying the property is unique, “but there are many lots in town that are.”
“There seems like there are some issues here,” added resident Don Bergmann. He suggested there could be an alternative way to deal with it.
Calise spoke again asking: “What is the hardship?”
“The hardship is the makeup of the property,” said Peter Gelderman, of Berchem, Moses and Devlin, the lawyer representing the town. “This parcel is two separate, distinct pieces.” He said it doesn’t exist as a single lot except on a map. The ZBA approved the variance in a 4 to 1 vote.
The vote by the selectmen Wednesday was unanimous.
The prospective buyer, who has children, plans to live in the house, built in 1921, and preserve it.