Date: Fri 18-Sep-1998
State Accepts Town's Offer To Buy Queen Street Properties
BY STEVE BIGHAM
The state has accepted Newtown's offer of $1.2 million for the purchase of six
houses and eight lots along Queen Street.
The former Fairfield Hills staff member homes can be seen along the eastern
side of Queen Street, starting from Mile Hill Road and running north up to
Grand Place. The homes lie on the far western edge of the former state mental
institution. The state is seeking to sell them and gave the town
right-of-first refusal on each individual property earlier this summer. The
homes have been assessed at between $76,000 and $140,000.
Last month, the Board of Selectmen authorized First Selectman Herb Rosenthal
to make the million-dollar offer to state officials. With that offer having
been accepted, selectmen will now ask the Legislative Council for funding. It
is expected to pass easily; council members say they know of no one on the
board who is against the purchase of the land.
The first selectman has received similar feedback on the plan. "Except for
maybe one person, I haven't talked to anyone who is against us purchasing the
Queen Street properties," Mr Rosenthal said Monday.
The council would not have the final decision, however. The question of
whether the town should purchase $1.2 million worth of property would require
approval at a town meeting.
The buildings are in poor condition, according to building official Tom
Paternoster, who said it would require a large expenditure to bring the
buildings up to code. That withstanding, Mr Rosenthal believes the cost to the
town would still be well within the price range of a home selling in Newtown.
"I realize this is a significant expenditure, but considering the value of
real estate in Newtown, I find it hard to believe the town would lose money,"
The town could turn around and sell the homes "as is" and still make out well,
town officials say.
Mr Rosenthal has stated that purchasing the homes would enable the town to
exercise control over future building that may occur in that area. He believes
the town could be somewhat vulnerable to higher density housing since the
properties are hooked up to municipal water and sewer facilities.