Log In

Reset Password

Date: Fri 28-Aug-1998



Text Size

Date: Fri 28-Aug-1998

Publication: Bee

Author: CURT

Quick Words:


Full Text:

ED INK: Tinkering In The Real Estate Market

Last week, the Board of Selectmen authorized First Selectman Herb Rosenthal to

approach the state about purchasing seven homes and eight separate empty lots

along the margin of state land at Fairfield Hills on Queen Street. The town

has right of first refusal on the properties, which the state is interested in

selling in part or parcel.

Some of the land and buildings along that Queen Street residential strip could

be of use to the town, particularly the properties at the north end of Queen

Street where the land is level and affords stunning views of the open space

now under the control of the state Department of Agriculture. Sports

organizations and the Parks and Recreation Department, which are desperate for

more ballfields, see the site as a prime candidate for that purpose. The large

state-owned house at that end of Queen Street might even lend itself to

administrative office space for either school or town officials.

The town really doesn't need all the houses and land along Queen Street,

however. Mr Rosenthal and some council members are arguing, though, that the

town should buy all the properties to exercise control over future building

that might occur there, either by deed restriction upon resale or through

continued outright ownership. He explained this week that this is especially

important since the existence of sewer and water lines there would allow

higher densities than currently exist. But we have to ask ourselves: Should

the town be micro-managing possible future residential real estate

transactions on Queen Street, or on any other street for that matter, with

public funds? If so, should the town purchase all vacant land on all streets

currently on sewer and water lines for the purpose of placing deed

restrictions on them, and then reselling them?

Traditionally, a town influences its own growth and evolution through land-use

regulation. Protecting and acquiring larger tracts of open space for public

use and enjoyment, as outlined in the town's Plan of Development, is one

thing. Tinkering with individual house lots in the real estate market with

public funds for purposes not directly related to the administration of town

business is something else altogether.

First Selectman Rosenthal has seen figures on the probable cost of the Queen

Street properties, but he isn't saying what they are while preliminary talks

with the state are still under way. It is estimated, however, that seven homes

and eight lots could be a million dollars or more. While that amount seems

modest in the context of recent town capital expenditures, it doesn't seem

prudent to add unnecessary capital expenditures, regardless of their size, to

an existing $70 million list of possible capital projects currently under

consideration by the Legislative Council. The town already has a mountain of

debt, so now is not the time to be adding non-essential expenses.

Both the Legislative Council and town voters will have to approve any plan to

purchase the Queen Street houses and vacant lots from the state. We hope that

as the plan evolves as it is studied and reviewed, serious consideration will

be given to purchasing some of the property -- some, but not all.

Comments are open. Be civil.

Leave a Reply