2018-01-12 / Front Page

Cape couple petitions town to purchase property

By Michael Kelley
Staff Writer

CAPE ELIZABETH – Marc Greichen and Sandra Elliott have longed eyed a 0.2-acre piece of town owned property on Ocean View Road that abuts their property at 78 Ocean House Road and have, once again, inquired about purchasing the parcel.

The vacant property, which the town gained years ago through foreclosure, is assessed at $18,600 and Greichen and Elliott have offered $35,000 for it.

Back in 2004, as part of a review of town-owned property, the conservation committee indicated it had no objection to selling the lot assuming a pedestrian easement on the property remained. Michael McGovern, the town manager at the time, suggested it be offered for sale for a minimum of $15,000.

Town Manager Matt Sturgis said this is the second time the couple asked about purchasing the property. In 2007, they offered $15,000, but “the council decided that wasn’t enough.”

“These are all odd parcels that do not have much inherent value unless someone has ownership or interest in an abutting property,” McGovern wrote in an April 4, 2004 correspondence to the town council.

Sturgis, who took over for McGovern last January, said Greichen and Elliott are interested in the property to have the “comfort of knowing something is not going to be taking place on that parcel” abutting their property.

It is unknown if any development could happen with the property since Sturgis said generally Cape Elizabeth doesn’t allow construction of homes on properties less than 10,000 square feet without an extenuating circumstance, but he is going to clarify the properties development potential with McGovern.

Sturgis said the last time the town sold property was in 2005 when property on Mitchell Road across from Columbus Road and several parcels on South Street were sold.

The town council considered the latest offer on Monday, but before a decision can be made, they first need to see if the property has any value for future use for the town.

Per the town’s real estate acquisition/disposition policy, the council passed the topic on to the conservation committee for its recommendation. The policy also requires Sturgis to survey municipal departments, the school department and the Portland Water District to get recommendations from those entities. The conservation committee has 45 days to get its recommendation back to the council. Recommendations from the committee, town staff, school staff and the water district do not bind the council to act in any given way.

The policy also requires immediate abutters be informed by mail that “the process for potential disposition has begun,” as well as a public hearing and site visit.

Any proceeds from the sale shall be used to meet the properties tax obligation and real estate transaction costs. Any additional proceeds are then divided between the town’s land acquisition fund and general fund.

“This is just a preliminary step to gather information. It is not binding,” said Council Chairman Jessica Sullivan.

Staff Writer Michael Kelley can be reached at 282-4337, ext. 237.

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