Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The 0 Wade Street fiasco

In our opinion, here are some of the mistakes made by Carver, with the 0 Wade Street property. 

1.) Improper use of Carver Redevelopment Authority. According to Article 40 of the 2006 Carver Town Meeting, the Redevelopment Authority was established to handle the following situations:

 "Whereas there exists in the Town of Carver: (a) substandard, decadent or blighted open areas; and (b) that each constitutes a serious and growing menace, injurious and inimical to the safety, health, morals and welfare of residents"

I'm very familiar with this lot, as I live in the neighborhood. I do not believe this property fits the definition for Article 40 of 2006. This is a scenic and hilly wooded area, full of wildlife and natural beauty. Much of it is completely untouched.

2.) When was the auction? The Special Town Meeting on November 30, 2009 voted for Carver to transfer this property specifically “for the purposes of sale at auction”.

(Article 4) “it was Unanimously Voted for the Town to transfer the properties of 3 Oak Drive, Map 62, Lot 175; 0 Oak Street, Map 62, Lot 174; and O Wade Street, Map 112, Lot 3-b; from the Tax Collector for the purposes of sale at auction…”

I’ve searched the town website to find more about this auction, or (more recent) actions taken to change this decision, but I haven’t found anything.

3.) The FY 2012 assessed value of this lot raises questions. According to the Carver “FY 2009 AssessedProperty Values” spreadsheet, the value of this lot has now decreased by 83% from the listed “prior value”. Randomly selected properties in Carver (including Wade St.) have decreased by less than 30%, when making the same comparison.

Why has the value of this lot decreased so sharply, compared to the other lots in this neighborhood, and in Carver?

Selectman Dick Ward seems to have gotten right to this point, when he made the following statement at the BOS meeting on Jan 10th 2012:

"I think when we were discussing this, handing it over from the Selectmen to the Redevelopment Authority, I was thinking it was going to be worth more than $19,000." 

4.) I do not believe that the value of the property was properly determined. The CRA knew that AD Makepeace intends to extract the sand and gravel resources from this property. The value of the resources on this lot should have been determined professionally, and then should have been included in the negotiations. Chairman Sinclair was representing the CRA on this issue at the BOS meeting (Jan 10th 2012). As the following exchange indicates, the value of resources wasn’t determined:

Selectman O'Donnell - "It's a 6.3 acre site right?"

CRA Chairman Sinclair -- "Yep"

Selectman O'Donnell - "Do we know how much sand and gravel is on this site?"

CRA Chairman Sinclair - "No idea."

Selectman O'Donnell- "Can we get somebody that's capable of evaluating what the true value of that land is, sand and gravel wise?"

CRA Chairman Sinclair - "I can bring that back to the board, absolutely."

As the Carver Reporter posted online (Jan 19th 2012), it seems that the town of Carver cannot make any changes to this deal, and cannot renegotiate the true value of this land at this time.

5.) It appears that a Massachusetts General Law was broken, when the P&S agreement was signed. Since the CRA did not properly determine the complete value of this land, I believe the town has violated Chapter 30B, §16. This law is a requirement concerning the disposition of real property:

“The governmental body shall determine the value of the property through procedures customarily accepted by the appraising profession as valid.”

The only valid value of this property would include the sand and gravel resources.

I believe that Carver should appoint a professional custodian to manage this property, have it appraised by professionals, and then bring it to auction. Please refer to M.G.L. c. 60 § 77B for more details.

It’s not too late to fix this fiasco, and it looks like they have just one final chance. This is why we encourage the Planning Board to vote “no” on Feb 7th 2012.

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