WINDHAM — Local landowners with their sights set on .69 acres of town-owned land adjacent to their London Bridge Road property were out of luck after being outbid by $200 earlier this week.
During Monday’s meeting of the Board of Selectmen, the board awarded the sale option to William R. Mason, a local attorney whose bid of $25,200 was the highest of two.
Mason’s bid topped a $25,000 bid made by Earl and Georgianna Goodnough, owners of E.F. Goodnough Realty, 99 London Bridge Road.
Bids for the two Haverhill Road lots, which total 33,838 square feet and include portions of the existing right-of-way on London Bridge Road, closed on Friday, July 26.
In late November, developer Karl Dubay of the Dubay Group had initially appeared before the board to inquire about the pair of town-owned parcels.
The Dubay Group has been responsible for the development of several major projects in town, including the Route 111 ConvenientMD medical clinic that opened last year.
Dubay, who along with agent Beverly Donovan appeared before the board this week on behalf of the Goodnoughs, said the town’s surplus land would be the ideal spot for mixed-use development and the land would be a good addition to the couple’s existing property since it offers options for attractive access and landscaping.
Voters at the March 2013 Town Meeting approved the pending sale of the property with the passage of Article 19, with $20,000 set as the minimum bid amount.
Mason, who was present at the July 29 meeting, said he was interested in the land for personal reasons, though did not specify.
“Not that I think it’s relevant who buys this property,” he told selectmen.
Town Administrator David Sullivan said the town would now work closely with Mason to schedule a property appraisal, which would dictate the final sale price.
Donovan said she took issue with the town’s awarding the bid to Mason, noting it was the Goodnoughs who’d helped put the sale in motion.“They want to join this with their existing property to make it more valuable,” she said. ” I think you should keep that in mind.”
Sullivan noted, however, that the town’s posted bid notification “clearly stated the property would be sold to the highest bidder.”
Dubay argued that the Goodnoughs’ existing driveway runs through the property in question, among other things.
“There are plenty of arguments that didn’t carry forth on the ballot, but specifically talked about them,” he told the board.“Yes, there’s legal interest (Goodnough) has and the driveway is already there, it will remain there,” Sullivan said. “We’re just selling the town right’s to this property and its up to the board to go with the highest bidder.”Following a brief discussion, the board agreed to sell the property to Mason, which Selectman Kathleen DiFruscia opposed.
“We’re talking a $200 difference,” she said. “What value does this land have as a single piece of property — and will it even benefit the town at all?”email@example.com