Groton – The sale of vacant city-owned land, proposed for a community center in the apartments of Groton Estates, was rejected, after a resident expressed concern that the proposal would remove open spaces from which enjoy the children of the community.
City council voted 4-2 Monday against the city’s proposal to sell the excess land at 80 Nathan Hale Road and 0 Paul Revere Road, located in the middle of Groton Estates, to Groton Estates LLC for $ 45,000. The town would also receive an easement around Groton Estates to extend the Birch Plain Creek Trail.
Groton Estates has proposed to construct a two story clubhouse on the land, with no more than 2,500 square feet on the first floor and with a business and fitness center, for the use of residents of Groton Estates. Bryan LeClerc, an attorney representing the city said during a public hearing Monday.
Groton Estates resident Shauntee Duzant spoke out against the proposal, with a few additional speakers sharing her concerns. She said she discovered the proposal as she was walking around and was taken by surprise. She said her two children played on the field and interacted with their peers there, and during the pandemic, families used the space for picnics.
“We don’t have a backyard,” added Duzant, who said residents should be alerted to the sale and vote. “This is our backyard.”
Resident Paul Duarte said he was in favor of the proposal because he was happy to have the opportunity to extend the Birch Plain Creek Trail.
During the city council meeting, councilors and the mayor discussed additional ways to get the word out to residents, beyond public notices and Facebook posts, like knocking on doors or handing out flyers.
City mayor Keith Hedrick said on Tuesday the city is considering next steps and may contact the community and hold another Planning and Zoning Commission hearing. The proposal started in 2016 and went to the commission, but there was a delay from the owner of Groton Estates and then a delay due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Bailey Mother House
The city unveiled in Monday’s public hearing details of a proposal for the Mother Bailey House at 108 Thames St. and a plot adjacent to 0 Broad St., but postponed the city council vote. Hedrick said the city has realized it needs to hold a Planning and Zoning Commission hearing on 0 Broad St., to be held on June 15. The proposed sale of 108 Thames St. and 0 Broad St. is expected to be presented to City Council on June 21.
The proposal, which follows an RFP process, is to sell the Mother Bailey house and adjacent property to a local developer, FTTB LLC, for $ 1, according to an agenda from the mayor’s and council meeting. municipal. LeClerc said the plan is for the developer to preserve and restore the house, to historic standards, for residential use. He said a requirement would be that a performance bond be issued for $ 285,000 to guarantee that the building would be properly restored, and that the developer would have 15 months to complete the project.
The company could also potentially develop the adjacent property on 0 Broad St. into three duplex units, he said.
The town had declared the Mother Bailey House, an 18th-century colonial structure, surplus property after the building needed repairs, but residents were unwilling to spend the extra funds on the property. Friends of the Mother Bailey House group raised funds to restore the house and preserve Anna Warner Bailey’s Legacy but the group did not raise enough funds.
Hedrick said the city received two responses to an initial request for proposals, but the city rejected them because they did not meet the requirements. The city then issued another request for proposals two years ago and received three responses.
The city started working with a sponsor and the process took about a year. The city had yet to consider elements of the process, such as the purchase and sale contract and performance bond issues, when the pandemic struck and posed a challenge. The city then went with a second sponsor, but faced challenges with the performance bond and the work the respondent said he would do in the proposal versus negotiations. The city finally began to negotiate with the third respondent.
Hali Keeler, a Friends of the House Mother Bailey member and chair under former city mayor Marian Galbraith of a committee looking at different scenarios to save the house, said after seeing nothing happen except the peeling paint , it is the best choice even if the group would like to have the building for a museum.
Resident and former City Clerk Debra Patrick said she thought it was wonderful, but asked why the 0 Broad St. Plot couldn’t be sold at market value. She said she understands the Mother Bailey House will take a huge amount of money to restore, but it would be nice if the city could see a little comeback on 0 Broad St.
Hedrick said the city brought the two plots together in the request for proposals. He said the real estate committee struggled with the price of the property, but came up with the price because the Mother Bailey House was in distress and would need a significant amount of money.
At the annual budget meeting preceding the public hearing, the 2022 budget of $ 19,992,489 was passed with 36 people in favor, two against and three abstentions. The spending plan will keep the tax rate at 4.3 million.