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Second Round of Dutton House Bids Expected For January

Selectman Jim Lane on Dec. 16
Selectman Jim Lane on Dec. 16

Part Two of a Summary of the Dec. 16, 2013 Board of Selectmen meeting.

For the full meeting, click here. 

7:43 p.m. to 8:08 p.m.

Cohen then discussed bids on the Dutton House.  He noted from Town Counsel several omissions from a bid from Richard McClure, making that bid invalid and a second bid from William Harvey that did not have those omissions, but had several contingencies that did not make it responsive to the request for purchase (RFP).

Cohen said that Town Counsel advised the RFP should be reissued, but with additional provisions regarding town fees and zoning regulations.

Board of Selectmen chairman Matt Hanson asked the rest of the board for comments on a new request for purchase since it’s the will of the board to preserve the building, although there is currently not much interest from the community.

Wotjas said it was unfortunate that the RFP needed to be renewed.

Selectman Jim Lane asked how soon advertisement could be done, with Cohen saying the beginning of January would be best.

Hanson then asked about the criteria process and taking a bid that did not comply with bidding rules, with Cohen elaborating that bid rules needed to be clear.

Although public hearing was not open, Hanson allowed Planning Board member Colleen Stansfield to ask if the bids could be allowed as is if there were no bids pending. Wotjas said the discussion was not about choosing a bidder, but about the process.

Cohen said that choosing a bidder would pale as a problem compared to possible litigation if bidding rules were not followed.

William Harvey then testified to the board saying that it would not make sense to send the bid out again due to time restraints on the demolition delay as well as the lack of bids during the first request for bidding.

Cohen then said that even if the bid were approved tonight, Harvey would not be able to go before the Board of Appeals until February.

Harvey replied that he has already spent money on engineering and additional moves to the board of appeals would require additional money on his part, urging the board that he was the only person serious about saving the historic home.

A new request for purchase for 14 days instead of 30 days was agreed upon in principle and then there was a discussion on waivers of fees related to zoning.

Wotjas was concerned about telling the Board of Appeals on how to rule on this, with Lane asking about the contingencies on Harvey’s proposal.

Hanson said that Town Counsel advised that applicants not be allowed to request waivers of fees and contingencies for things like sewer connections.

Cohen said that waiving contingencies could create ambiguity as bids with some contingencies may be worth less or more than other bids without them, making an uneven playing field for bidding.

After additional discussion, it was disclosed that if the building is worth less than $5,000; the board can negotiate with any interested buyer to remove the home without a bidding process, with Cohen saying that a second request for purchase without a bidding meeting all criteria would bring the value of that home to that point.

At this point, a second tentative request for purchase was agreed upon without a vote for Jan. 4, pending advertisement in newspapers, with the item to return to the board’s next meeting agenda in January.

8:08 p.m. to 8:09 p.m.

Matthew Dulchinos was approved as a member of the Board of Registrars representing the Chelmsford Republican Party.

Meeting minutes for Oct. 28 and Nov. 4 were approved.

8:09 p.m. to 8:11 p.m.

A request for a new Department of Revenue letter asking for a Financial Management Review was briefly discussed.

A motion to submit a new letter for a more limited and focused review that would only be one month was unanimously approved.

8:11 p.m. to 8:17 p.m.

Lane provided an update on the Center Village Master Plan and presentations to boards in town, and wished everyone happy holidays.

Selectman Janet Askenburg also wished everyone happy holidays.

Selectman George Dixon provided an update on the Grinder Pump Committee.

Dixon also wished everyone happy holidays and thanked Gary Persichetti for his work clearing the roads during the weekend’s storm.

Wotjas said that the Nashoba Valley Tech School Committee will present their capital plan on Friday. She also noted the upcoming financial fitness fair at the Senior Center.

Wotjas also wished everybody happy holidays.

Hanson also reiterated wishing happy holidays, and said he would not be holding office hours at the Java Room until January.

Wotjas remembered that Nashoba Tech is looking for a warrant article for a warrant article for a new roof.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:17 p.m., with the next meeting on the Jan. 6 

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