For decades, town-owned property abutting 3171 Bronson Road has been used by the owners of that house for their driveway. Now, the current owners want to officially purchase that strip of land from the town for $18,000.
Kiley noted that there was no formal appraisal done for the land, nor was the assessor consulted. "Are we setting any kind of precedent by calculating it with this methodology?" he asked.
Town Attorney Stanton Lesser said he believes the proposed transaction needs to be considered on an individual basis. "In this case, it's basically what someone's willing to pay," he said. "I don't believe we're setting a precedent.
The current owner, Elinor S. Garcia-Garcia, is under water on her mortgage and the property is scheduled for a short sale, according to Peter Ambrose, lawyer for the prospective buyers. Ambrose said he discovered the encroachment on to the town property during a title search, and provided a 1969 map that shows the town land being used as the home's driveway.
The town's original offer to sell the land for $24,000 was eventually negotiated to $18,000, Lesser said.
"I'm hard-pressed to know that it's the number," Kiley said, adding he would be more comfortable if the assessor at least "were to opine that the methodology made sense and is in the ballpark."
The selectmen voted to postpone a vote until Sept. 5, and also required the buyer provide a land survey and that Lesser check to make sure the property is not under the Conservation Commission's jurisdiction as open space.
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