Will next come before voters at Annual Town Meeting
By Bonnie Adams, Managing Editor
Northborough – The Community Preservation Committee (CPC) voted March 21 to give its support to a measure that would see the town purchase the White Cliffs property on West Main Street for $1.75 million. The purchase would still need to be approved by the voters at the Annual Town Meeting which starts Monday, April 25.
During the March 21 meeting, the committee discussed other costs that will be associated with the purchase. But since those costs still need to be assessed by Town Manager John Coderre and town counsel, the amount the CPC will ask for at the ATM has not yet been determined.
According to CPC member Todd Helwig, the LaCava family, who currently owns the property, is asking for $5,000 a month until a possible deal could be closed. Monies will also be needed to do an assessment of the property before a closing date. Approximately $20,000 would be needed to re-purchase certain items that are no longer in the building such as pieces of woodwork.
The funds to purchase the property could come from $800,000 of available Community Preservation Act (CPA) funds and a bond against future CPA monies collected.
CPA funds come from a property tax surcharge that was approved by the town’s voters 11 years ago. By law, the monies may only be used for historic resources, community housing, open space and land for recreational use.
Since there are still so many variables with the property, the CPC voted to recommend that the town purchase the property and then just “mothball” it while plans are assessed.
“The main thing is to save the building at this point,” CPC chair John Campbell said. “This is our last shot. If this is not approved, then it’s going to be torn down.”
Coderre noted that it was a highly unusual situation in that the town did not have a clear idea yet of what the property could be used for in the future but were planning on attempting to purchase it.
“But the reality is if you say you need more time for information or for the process, then the building comes down,” he said. “It’s a unique situation for a unique building.”
The CPC will be meeting one more time before the ATM to determine what price they will ask the voters to approve for the purchase and associated costs.