May 6 2019

Town to Purchase Foreclosed Home for Affordable Housing Project

By: Rich Hosford

The Town of Burlington will purchase a foreclosed home with the goal of seeking donations to renovate it and then sell it as affordable housing.


Assessor Jim Doherty was at Monday night’s Board of Selectmen meeting to discuss the purchase and sale of 117 South Bedford Street. The purchase was initially going to part of a Special Town Meeting in this month’s Annual Town Meeting but because Town Meeting members already voted last September to approve the sale that is not necessary.


“It was initially on the special warrant because last year Town Meeting appropriated the money to purchase this property but the sale was not consummated,” Doherty said. “I did further research and found the money was still available.”


During that session Town Meeting voted to appropriate $250,000 for the purpose of purchasing the property. However, now the town is seeking to purchase it for $150,000, Town Administrator Paul Sagarino told BNEWS after the meeting.


Doherty said the plan is to use as little taxpayer money on the project as possible despite the fact that the home will likely require a “total gut and rehabilitation” before it can be used as affordable housing. He said he hopes the majority of the funds, and materials, for the rebuild will come from donations.


“We been in discussions with Habitat for Humanity but they are not committed,” he explained. “But we know there are individuals and businesses who want to help with donations… We haven’t identified the exact funding source to complete it but I’m thoroughly convinced that with the generosity of people and corporations in town we can get it done. There are a lot of companies that are looking to get their people out in the community and this could be an opportunity to harness that labor and get something positive done.”


Doherty also said this was a good opportunity to meet the ever-growing need for affordable housing in town.


“We know there are a lot of people looking for affordable housing,” he told the board.


 Selectman Mike Runyan, who has long talked about the need for additional affordable housing, praised the effort of getting the sale lined up.


“I’d like to thank you,” he said. “I know this has been a long process. It’s long overdue and so I look forward to getting it back on the market and in the hands of a responsible party.”  


When asked about the timeline Doherty said that if the town makes the purchase in July, which they are looking at, they could perhaps have it ready for resale by the end of the year or in early 2020.


The board voted 4-0-0 to enter into the purchase and sale agreement. Board Chairman Joe Morandi was not in attendance.


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