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Town Council votes to advertise Old River Road property

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MASSENA - The Massena Town Council voted unanimously this week to advertise the sale of 4.2 acres of riverfront property along the north side of Old River Road.

Supervisor Joseph D. Gray made the motion to begin a two-week advertising campaign in local media outlets, including the Watertown Daily Times, the Daily Courier-Observer and the website NorthCountyNow.com, beginning at the start of January.

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 voted 5-0 at a meeting in late October to put four and a half acres of land on Old River Road out for bid. Town officials have announced they are starting the bidding at $200,000.

Mr. Gray said at least four parties have expressed interest in making offers on the property; however, the council is moving ahead with the bidding for fairness.

“We don’t even need to advertise. We just want to do it fairness for other people who have expressed interested in the site,” councilman Charles “Chuck” Raiti said.

Ed Kaneb Jr., a property owner on the south side of Old River Road, attended the meeting to express his concerns on the bidding process.

Mr. Kaneb previously said he would like the homeowners on Old River Road to be able to make the first offer, due to the proximity of their homes to the property.

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

Mr. Kaneb asked thre board this week whether he and other Old River Road homeowners could make an offer to the town board. “Is there anything to prevent the town board from accepting offers?” he asked.

The council told him there wasn’t. “We’re not talking business so much as offers. Make us an offer, and we’ll start negotiating,” Mr. Gray said.

Councilman Robert Cunningham expressed concern that the advertisement might be misleading. He noted the property is on a steep hill, which might make it difficult to build on.

“It’s sounds really beautiful, until you get out there and see it,” Mr. Cunningham said. “(The ad) makes it sound like I can build on it.”

Mr. Raiti said Town Attorney Eric J. Gustafson had looked at and approved the ad. He also said Mr. Gustafson has prepared a document outlining the appropriate uses for the site, which interested buyers would have to read and be required to sign.

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