Council Begins Hearing Process to Sell Town Property

The first public hearing on the disposal of town-owned property was held at the Feb. 3 Town Council meeting.

At issue is the sale, most likely by auction, of 21 tax-deeded properties. Three of the parcels have been recommended for keeping by the Conservation Commission and Public Works, leaving 18 to be auctioned.

The list includes four homes, four condominiums, four manufactured homes, one commercial property and five parcels of land. The original list was reviewed by the Conservation Commission, Planning Board, Public Works and Heritage Commission to see if retaining any of the property made sense for the town.

The Conservation Commission has expressed interest in two parcels, one at 41 Collettes Grove Road and one at 11 Collettes Grove Road. The Conservation Commission listed its reasons as possible recreational use for 11 Collettes Grove Road and parking for the Collettes Mountain conservation area at 41 Collettes Grove Road. The Department of Public Works is interested in 41 Collettes Grove Road for drainage purposes and recommended retaining 40 Kilrea Road for demolishing, after Code Enforcement Officer Bob Mackey received complaints from the public about the condition of the building on the parcel.

The parcels recommended for sale are 3 Nutfield Court, 100 Rockingham Road #22, 139 Rockingham Road #15, 139 Rockingham Road #5, 101 East Broadway #7, 3 Pembroke Drive #10, 41 West Broadway #7, 18 Stonegate Lane, 63 Drew Road, 8 Desmarais Ave., 4 Claremont Ave., 23 Windham Road, 92 Goodhue Road, 39 Featherbed Lane, 7 Gena Ave., 16 Windham Depot Road #7, 19 Tyler Road and 26 Gordon Road.

Town Administrator Galen Stearns said the owner of 23 Windham Road is in the “repurchasing process” but the property would stay on the list until that was finalized.

“We keep them on in case it doesn’t pan out,” Stearns said.

In the public hearing portion of the discussion, abutter Chris Walker asked about 3 Nutfield Court. “It is zoned commercial,” he said. “Will it stay that way if it is sold?”

Stearns said it would stay commercial unless someone requested a zoning change.

Councilor Tom Cardon said he supported keeping 11 Collettes Grove Road. “It’s not buildable, and eight to 10 cars can park there,” he said, referring to the potential use of the property for parking for the Collettes Mountain conservation land.

Tax Collector Dawn Enwright said the Department of Public Works is interested in 41 Collettes Grove Road for drainage and Stearns said Public Works Director Mike Fowler would be at the next public hearing to discuss the plans.

Councilor Phyllis Katsakiores asked about the process for repurchasing property.

Enwright said the former owner should contact her office and they would draft a repurchase agreement. The agreement would include any back taxes, a 15 percent penalty, and reimbursement for some of the costs involved.

Katsakiores asked if there were a waiver for hardship cases and Enwright said there was not.

“All the fees are by statute,” she said. “As administrators, we have no control over them. Anyone wanting a waiver would have to go to the Council.”

Councilor Al Dimmock asked if relatives would have a chance to purchase the property and Enwright said by statute they would not.

Stearns added, “They cannot repurchase the property unless they are the person’s legal heir.”

The next public hearing is Feb. 17, and the Council will vote on the properties March 3.