Town officials are moving forward with a plan to open up vacant lots at 19 Elm street at Abbott Court to the Request For Proposals process.
Wanting to see what a developer might envision for the property, councilors agreed in June to open up 19 Elm Street to the RFP process. Council members also agreed to include a vacant property at Abbot Court as part of the RFP.
Reached on Monday, Town Administrator Caron said plans are underway to advertise the two properties.
“The Town has been working on two RFPs, Abbott Court and 19 Elm,” Caron said. “It is anticipated that Abbott Court will be advertised this week, and 19 Elm soon after.”
Caron added, “I expect that at least the Abbott Court project will come back before the Council in about 60 days.”
Once a former shoe factory, a sprawling building that once stood on the now vacant land at 19 Elm St. was demolished last year after hundreds of containers of flammable chemicals were discovered and then removed ty the Environmental Protection Agency.
After the chemicals were removed, a crew completed asbestos abatement in the building. A demolition crew was then brought in last summer and used a backhoe to bring down the building over a period of several weeks.
Although the property is currently zoned residential, it lies near commercial property. And if a developer were to come in with an RFP that could provide a good use for the property, it might be beneficial to consider a change to a commercial zone, Councilor James Morgan said. The plan also calls for fast-tracking the RFP and to have Caron craft the RFP and have it ready to go by August, he said. Potential developers can present ideas on the property but the town wouldn’t be obligated, Morgan said.
“The idea behind it was to give us a bird’s eye view about what a developer would like to put there,” Morgan said.
Later in the meeting, Councilor Neil Wetherbee brought up the Abbot Court property, which is also owned by the town and has sat vacant for a number of years. Wetherbee said it should also be included in the proposal. Councilors then agreed to include it in the proposal.