You Asked: When Should a Town Sell Municipal Land?

State Rep. Jones says towns should probably retain large parcels.

North Reading is performing its annual review of town-owned land.  Under what circumstances do you support the sale of municipal land?

The question brings back memories from my six years on the Board of Selectmen—though now I have no role in the sale of town-owned land unless a parcel requires legislative approval to be sold.   

I think every parcel is unique. First and foremast, larger parcels that might someday meet a town need should be, in most instances, retained by the town. I think smaller parcels are more advantageous to return to the tax rolls. To name a couple, if a parcel can be sold to an abutter to enlarge their own parcel, perhaps making their lot a little bigger or allowing them to address sewer needs, then those are strong reasons to dispose of parcels. 

The bottom line is that the town needs to complete its evaluation, decide what parcels might be disposed of, and then evaluate the desire of any applicant to purchase those parcels at auction. 


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