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Massena Town Council puts riverfront land out to bid

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MASSENA - The Massena Town Council is asking at least $200,000 for a parcel of land on the St. Lawrence River.

The council voted 5-0 at a meeting Monday night to put four and a half acres of land on Old River Road out to bid. Officials are starting the bidding at $200,000.

Supervisor Joseph D. Gray said he knew of at least two parties who had expressed interest in the property. One of the parties was a group of homeowners who live across from the property who have yet to make a purchase offer to the town board. That group has consistently expressed its interest in the property at monthly town board meetings.

“We don’t have an offer yet from anybody as far as we know,” Councilman John F. Macaulay said Monday night.

Ed Murphy, one of the homeowners, previously said the group plans to keep the property undeveloped, and only intends to preserve their view of the river.

The property is on the south side of the road, and the houses are on the north side.

The parcel was previously owned by the New York Power Authority, which deeded it to the town as part of its 2003 relicensing agreement. The town council recently had the property appraised at $330,000, but officials had questioned the accuracy of that estimate.

Mr. Macaulay said Town Attorney Eric J. Gustafson has said the town has to sell the land at least fair market value. But officials don’t necessarily think that amount is the appraised value because of the questions they have about that estimate.

Mr. Gray said he thought the $200,000 asking price was a good figure to start with, as it equates to approximately $50,000 an acre.

“For St. Lawrence River property it seemed like a fair price,” Mr. Gray said.

Town officials previously considered the sale of the land as part of a solution to this year’s budget problems. But Mr. Gray had pointed out the sale would likely take place after the council finalizes its 2013 budget in the next couple of weeks.

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