Sandown Looks To Auction Off Some Town Owned Properties

By Alex Malm

During the July 25 Sandown Board of Selectmen meeting one of the agenda items was a public hearing for the auctioning of town owned properties.
Board of Selectmen Chairman, Jonathan Goldman, said it was the first of two public hearings before they can take a vote to auction off a list of properties. He added the second public hearing is set for Aug.8 with a vote on Aug.22.
One question asked by the public was in regards to how the auction would work.
Goldman explained before if someone wanted to buy town owned land they would go to the Board of Selectmen and to the town to negotiate a deal and then it would go to the ballot for a vote.
“Everyone in town would decide if you were paying a fair price for that land or not,” said Goldman.
Goldman said in 2015 a warrant article passed that changed the way the sale of town owned properties worked, which allowed the Board of Selectmen to do so.
Since then he stated every year they have seen an increase in people wanting to buy town owned land. He added part of it was that when people bought the properties it was up to them to get any variances needed and there were no guarantees made.
“The assumption is you know what you’re doing if you buy that land,” said Goldman.
It was then decided by the Board of Selectmen to find an auctioneer company to auction off different properties.
Sandown Town Administrator, Lynne Blaisdell, stated that the auctioneer company said that it takes 30 to 60 days usually from the vote of the Board of Selectmen before they can have the auction.
Blaisdell added they would likely do the auction at town hall on a Saturday so they can have more people in attendance for it. She said that while there is the potential to do it differently, it is recommended that they have it in person.
“I think we would rather have in person,” said Blaisdell.
Another person who spoke during the hearing was Heather Holmes saying she was an abbutter to the 32 Tacoma Drive property.
“I didn’t realize it was up for auction,” said Holmes
She asked if she would be able to purchase the approximately .10 acre of land.
She was told that she would need to go the auction and bid in order to get it.
Selectmen, Darren Hudgins, asked if they are going have a reserve for the properties. Meaning that they wouldn’t accept bids under a certain amount.
Blaisdell said the auctioneer company doesn’t typically recommend it, however, they would be allowed to do so.
Lynne said that they don’t recommend it typically
Goldman suggested they look at doing so for some of the larger properties they have on the list.