Date: Fri 18-Sep-1998

Date: Fri 18-Sep-1998

Publication: Bee

Author: STEVEB

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Full Text:

State Accepts Town's Offer To Buy Queen Street Properties

(with photos)


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,"

he said.

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.