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Massena Town Council moves ahead with property bid

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MASSENA — The Town Council is moving ahead with its plan to put 4.5 acres of riverfront property on Old River Road out to bid.

During its Wednesday meeting, the council discussed its options, which include putting the property out to bid or waiting for an offer from one of several parties that have expressed interested in it.

The parcel previously was owned by the New York Power Authority, which deeded it to the town as part of its 2003 relicensing agreement.

The council voted 5-0 at a meeting in November to put the property up for bid. Town officials have announced they are starting the bidding at $200,000.

The Town Council recently had the property appraised at $330,000, but officials questioned the accuracy of that estimate.

Homeowners with property on the south side of Old River Road have voiced opposition to the bidding, stating that they would like the town to consider their offer first.

“Just be fair to the people on Old River Road,” said Ed Kaneb Jr., who owns property on the south side of Old River Road.

“Before you give it up to a Realtor or put it up for bid, give us time to formulate an offer.”

Town Supervisor Joseph D. Gray expressed impatience with the interest shown by the homeowners.

“You’ve been talking about making an offer to us for over a year. We’ve not seen anything,” Mr. Gray said. “If an offer comes up tomorrow, we would have to consider that.”

Mr. Kaneb previously suggested that because the Old River Road homeowners have adjacent property, they should be entitled to make an offer before the town seeks bids from any willing buyer.

“We have docks down there; we’ve mowed the grass,” Mr. Kaneb previously said. “It’d be fair to offer the land to the people who cared for it.”

Mr. Gray had responded that Old River Road homeowners do not have adjacent property.

“They are not adjacent-property owners; their land is on the other side of the road,” Mr. Gray said.

Councilman John F. Macaulay said he would like the property to go to bid because he believes it is fair to give any potential buyer the opportunity to make an offer.

“We’ve gone with bids in the past after we’ve had offers (for property), just for fairness,” Mr. Macaulay said.

Mr. Gray agreed. “I think if we want to sell it, we should put it up for bid,” he said.

Mr. Macaulay also suggested the town consider hiring a Realtor to sell the property.

“I for one am interested in what a Realtor could do for us because of the outreach they provide; their websites go all over the place,” Mr. Macaulay said.

“Our only charge as a board is to protect the taxpayers and say, ‘We want to get a bid that’s close to fair-market value,’” he said.

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