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Building in Rindge: Plenty of options, lots to consider



Monday, September 04, 2017

In response to the Aug. 29 edition letter from Jo Swanson, Rindge Code Enforcement officer David DuVernay was misquoted by the Ledger reporter. He never said, “do not assume a lot is unbuildable.” I said it.

The point that I tried to make at the selectmen’s meeting was that an abutter should not think that a piece of property will never be developed because it is town owned; they do get sold at times, or that there is not enough frontage or acreage or setback issues. Any property owner can apply for relief from zoning restrictions and make their case before the Board of Adjustment.

Someone once told me the best way to control the use of a neighboring property is to own it. When the town properties were being evaluated for auction, it was discussed that it was very likely the abutters would be interested. Last year one lot went for under $500 and this year the three lots were in the $4,500 range. Seems like a bargain for preserving privacy and water rights.

If residents don’t want open land developed, support conserving the land, whether town or privately owned. I also made the point that if the residents of the area did not like the camping provisions of the zoning ordinance, they can submit a petition warrant article for consideration at the deliberative session to amend the ordinance. Regarding the Loop Road property with a house that sold for $1,500, it is a dilapidated building with an asbestos issue. The town held off seizing it so as to avoid assuming responsibility for the demolition and asbestos abatement, an expensive proposition. The town ran ads looking for bids that included an abatement plan by a certified contractor. Once the bids were submitted and accepted, the winning bid, the only one that complied, was accepted. The town seized the property and immediately transferred the deed to the successful buyer.

The neighborhood gets an eyesore safely removed, the property goes back on the tax rolls and the town avoids an expensive liability; seems like a win-win to me. The change in the zoning district from recreation to residential in Little Michigan was not an arbitrary decision by town officials as all changes to zoning ordinances are voted on by the residents of Rindge.

David G. Drouin lives in Rindge.