By MICHAEL KITCH, LACONIA DAILY SUN
LACONIA — The City Council this week voted, with only Councilor Armand Bolduc (Ward 6) dissenting, to solicit requests for proposals to purchase the former Lakeport Fire Station with options to purchase one or both of two adjacent lots .
Altogether, the three lots amount to less than an acre. The lot housing the fire station is 0.32 acres and has been appraised for $275,000. The abutting lot to the rear of the building is 0.195 acres and has an appraised value of $51,000. The third lot, a 0.81-acre strip between Union Avenue and the railroad with an appraised value of $32,000, is what remains of the larger parcel the city leased to Lakeport Landing for 30 years, but earlier this year was assigned to Irwin Marine when the lease expired.
The boundaries of the two largest lots will be redrawn to preserve the city right-of-way on Railroad Avenue. The city will add a sidewalk on Elm Street but abandon the remainder of its abandon its right-of-way in front of the old fire station, enlarging that lot by 3,622 square feet. The curb cut on Elm Street will leave Railroad Avenue the sole access to the lots. And the city will require an easement to maintain the retaining wall along Union Avenue on the smallest of the lots.
In seeking requests for proposals, the council has explained that the property will not necessarily be sold to the highest bidder, but instead to the party whose proposal is deemed in the best interest of the city as determined solely by the City Council. To that end, the council has attached conditions to the transaction, which it expects all proposals to meet.
Although proposals need not include the purchase of all three lots, they must include the purchase of the lot housing the fire station. Proposals must specify how and when the property will be redeveloped, along with an estimate of the value of the renovation or construction. In particular, proposals must indicate whether or not the fire station will be incorporated into the redevelopment of the site. Moreover, the council expects the site to be redeveloped in a timely manner and will require proposals to include a timetable for renovation or construction. In addition, a clause providing for its repurchase by the city will be included in the closing documents to protect the city's interest should the buyer fail to proceed in a timely fashion. Proposals must include the price offered for the parcel or parcels. And all proposals will become part of the public record.
The fire station, which will be sold "as is," will be open for inspection on Friday, Dec. 16, between 2 and 3:30 p.m., and again on Wednesday, Dec. 21, between 10:30 a.m. and noon.
Meanwhile, after voting with his fellow councilors to declare the property surplus and not objecting when Myers was directed to frame the request for proposals, Councilor Armand Bolduc (Ward 6) dissented when the council voted to solicit offers and asked for the issue to be referred to the Land and Buildings Committee. He said that "people in Lakeport are upset," expressed concern about the loss of parking spaces and referred to "restrictions" on the lots. Mayor Ed Engler reminded him that he had voted to declare the property surplus and had not objected when Myers was directed to draft the parameters of the transaction. Moreover the mayor stressed that the council was not binding itself to sell any or all of the lots.
Councilor Henery Lipman (Ward 3) said Bolduc's concerns did not preclude pursuing the process and anticipated some or all of the issues he raised would be addressed by the different proposals. that the recess could continue. Undeterred, Bolduc moved to refer the matter to the Land and Buildings Committee and with only Councilor Brenda Baer (Ward 4) dissenting, his motion carried five-to-one. The committee will meet prior to the first council in the new year at 6 p.m. on Monday, Jan.y 9.
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