SALEM — Selectmen are on board with selling a town-owned parcel of land at 85 Lake Shore Road, but they want to make sure they get a fair price for the nearly quarter-acre lot.
Town Manager Keith Hickey said he got a request from a Lake Shore Road resident to put the land up for public auction.
Currently, the land is assessed at $9,000 and is considered an unbuildable lot. Hickey said he wanted to gauge the interest of the selectmen in selling the property before bringing the request to the town’s land use boards.
Selectman Pat Hargreaves said it is not inconceivable that the lot could be built on, if a variance were granted by the Zoning Board of Adjustments. With that in mind, Hargreaves said he could not support selling the property if the minimum bid was set at $9,000.
“I look at the map and I see house lot, house lot, house lot,” Hargreaves said. “You’re going to tell me you’re going to buy that land for $9,000 and you’re going to put a house on it and sell it for 100 something thousand? I’m saying let’s get more than $9,000 for it.”
Hickey noted that the $9,000 is only the current assessed value and not the figure set for a minimum bid.
“If the board is interested, and everyone else supports the sale of the property, the board can put a minimum bid,” said Hickey.
Whoever buys the lot would have to get a variance in order to build on it.
“That is something that could certainly be achieved,” Hickey said. “There are several lots in the general area of the same size that have houses on them.”
Hickey said the board could also place a restriction on the property so that it could not be built on.
Selectman Stephen Campbell said the town could get a variance for the property itself, thus increasing its value before it goes up for auction.
“My position is that we should sell the property,” said selectmen Chairman Everett McBride. “I just want to maximize the value.”