Residents Unhappy With Oxford School Purchase Agreement
Fairhaven residents were critical of the town's purchase agreement for the Oxford School at Wednesday's Board of Selectmen meeting.
Town officials and the Stratford Capital Group had entered negotiations for the details of the purchase and sales agreement to convert the historic Fairhaven school into low-income elderly housing.
Among the residents' concerns was a $90,000 cap placed on building, electical, gas, and plumbing permitting fees for the Peabody-based development company.
According to officials, the town originally requested a cap around the $100,000 mark, while the Stratford Group sought a $75,000 max for the town permit fees.
Resident Jeff Antila was also critical of the negotiated deposit amount for the property.
The company will pay an initial $2,500 deposit, with increases at two other stages. The total deposits the development company would pay toward the Oxford School would be $10,000, however Antila says the town should be getting closer to $20,000 for the property's deposit.
"The financial obligation that this company has is very, very minute. I just feel like the town has all the liability and this company has zero," Atila tells WBSM News.
While the Stratford Group will still be buying the school for $325,000, officials say they will also be paying $5,000 per year for building maintenance until they close on the property.
The town also negotiated to have the company pay for an additional 30-space parking lot for public use at Livesey park.
Neighbors of the property say, however, that would not be enough.
With 63 proposed units and 78 total bedrooms, residents felt that the 75-spot tenant parking lot will not be able to handle the traffic, putting additional strain on the already busy area.
Selectman Bob Espindola says the town will take all the criticism in.
"We're going to take those [questions and suggestions] back to Stratford Capital Group and ask them if they can work some of these things out," Espindola said.
The Board of Selectmen will vote on a final Purchase and Sales Agreement on May 2, and the final word on the project will be decided at Town Meeting on Saturday, May 7.