Yes, strings attached: Goffstown land in limbo
GOFFSTOWN — Selectmen met a stumbling block right before members were to decide whether to accept a donation of five real estate parcels on behalf of the town.
On Monday afternoon before the selectmen's June 24 meeting, property owners Raymond and Vivian Blondeau sent a letter to the board saying the donated land must be used for town or community purposes only, not commercial use.
"This land has always been used for town activities such as the pumpkin drop and festivities, block parties, old home day and several other Main Street and town programs," the Blondeaus said in their letter. "Our vision for this donation is to continue such community uses as well as for municipal buildings and operations, including parking, etc."
The Blondeaus said if the town decides in the future it cannot use any portion of the properties for town use, they do not want the parcels sold or leased for other purposes.
In closing, the Blondeaus said they are open to discussing the precise terms of this restriction with the town.
The town is hopeful it can work with the Blondeaus and accept the parcels, said Selectmen Chairman Collis Adams.
"We hope this won't derail things and we can move forward," said Adams. "Our understanding, it was no strings attached and the town would pull a committee to examine the possibilities and either use the parcels for municipal use or swap for other parcels."
The parcels include a half-acre of land at 28 Depot St.; 1 acre at 14 Depot St.; a .14-acre at 22 Main St. that includes a 3,200 square-foot warehouse building; a .67 acre and a 1,470 square-foot office building, circa 1892, at 9 Church St.; and a half-acre parcel at 17 Church St.
The board held public meetings June 3 and 17, at which some people suggested the land could be used for the district court, to expand the post office or reserve for future economic development.
Now, the board may have to hold more public hearings on the issue, which could delay the decision to accept the property by six or more weeks, Adams said.
"This is not consistent with what was brought forth at the public meetings," he said. "We're waiting for a response from our legal counsel and then we'll sit down with the Blondeaus. If it changes, we'll have to hold more public hearings."
The five parcels are adjacent and abut town hall. One of the parcels holds historical significance as a section of a building on the lot was part of the original town hall.
The Board of Selectmen may discuss the matter at its next meeting on Monday, July 1, at 6 p.m. at Goffstown Town Hall, Room 106.