By Keith Regan, Contributing Writer
Westborough—Town Meeting voters want officials to attempt to sell the Spurr House, delaying for 18 months the fate of the property, which has been eyed for additional parking for the public library and the Forbes Municipal Building.
The Board of Selectmen had proposed a motion that would have had the building at 7 Parkman St.—just across from the library and directly behind the Forbes building— demolished sooner. But at the Oct. 19 Town Meeting, voters by a wide margin opted to support the recommendation of the Spurr House Committee formed by the spring town meeting, which wants selectmen to put the house, the oldest part of which was built in 1849, up for sale.
Spurr House Committee Chair Bob Petrucelli said eight options for the property were explored, from razing part or all of it to selling it to a buyer who would move it. Keeping the house in town hands was quickly ruled out, he added, as it would cost an estimated $500,000 to $750,000 to keep it up to current code.
While that—and the limitations of the municipal zoning district where the property sits—may make it tough sell, Petrucelli said the committee felt it was the best option as it “gives the house a chance.”
The Historical Commission also backed that approach, said member Jennifer Doherty.
“We don’t know the downtown’s future parking needs right now and once we demolish it, it can’t be rebuilt,” she said.
The Historical Commission has also agreed to run the town’s six-month demolition delay bylaw concurrently with the end of the for-sale period.
In other business, voters:
– Approved the appropriation of $176,000 from free cash to cover the cost of a property survey and hazardous materials study of the Westborough State Hospital property. The study is aimed at helping to evaluate the costs associated with possible private redevelopment of parts of the property.
– Approved the expansion of the downtown planning overlay district to include 10 new properties on East Main Street. The same overlay bylaw has been used to redevelop several properties, including the Bay State Commons mixed-use development.