By Beth David, Editor
At a Special Town Meeting on 6/30, Fairhaven TM members voted to accept the terms of the sale of the Oxford School building to Stratford Capital Group (SCG). The plan is to transform the property into an affordable housing complex for residents 62 and older.
The vote was the culmination of months of effort by the town to unload the building after the school department shut down the school and turned over the building to the town about three years ago. The last use for the building was the 2012 school year, when Wood School students used the building while a new Wood School was built.
The town sent out two Requests for Proposals for sale and re-use of the Oxford School building on Main Street at Benoit Square.
After months of wrangling over myriad details, the negotiating committee came to an agreement with SCG for sale of the building. The result was a 28-page Purchase & Sale agreement that includes restrictions on use of the building, creates additional public parking for 30 cars, and carves out the old firehouse that is being used by the North Fairhaven Improvement Association as a separate lot for the NFIA to continue using it.
Although the measure saw vocal opposition from residents who did not want to see housing at the site, the measure passed easily.
The Oxford School Residences will include 63 units consisting of 46 one-bedroom units and 17 two-bedroom units for a total of 80 bedrooms, with 75 parking spaces for tenant use.
The old building, which will be restored following National Park Services historical guidelines, will have 10 units (five bedrooms), and a new three-story building will have the remaining 53.
Conditions in the P&S include: a $325,000 purchase price with a deposit of up to $20,000; giving the company up until 2019 to secure financing; requiring the company to pay $5,000 a year for building maintenance. SCG paid for the STM.
In a related article, TM voted for the town to pay for a sewer tie-in for the Fire Station #3, the building the NFIA rents.
TM also approved $27,160 to pave Welcome Street from Route 6 south, despite dire warnings from teh Board of Public Works and Finance Committee members past and present that approving a road project in such a manner at a special town meeting, sets a bad precedent.
After an impassioned and emotional plea by Linda Therrien, who invoked the good will of her husband, recently retired Fire Department Lt. Wally Therrien, speakers supported the expenditure on the short dirt road.
Some decisions should be based on humanity and not just the budget, said Lee Baumgartner. The measure passed.
The P&S is available on the town’s website at www.Fairhaven-ma.gov, click on “Documents and Contracts,” and then “Rogers-Oxford Documents.”
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