DerryNews.com, Derry, New Hampshire

February 13, 2014

Derry councilors begin to study town land

Councilors begin review of town-owned property

By Julie Huss
jhuss@derrynews.com

---- — DERRY — One of the Town Council’s goals for the new year was to take a look at all the real estate Derry owns.

Councilors began that process last week with acting Town Administrator Larry Budreau offering a short list of 11 properties to review.

Those properties were taken by tax deed in 2012, Budreau said.

The list included three homes and eight parcels.

There were also four other properties discussed that had been put up for auction, but never sold.

Chief Financial Officer Frank Child said the town is often successful when selling off property at auction.

“Generally, we don’t have difficulty selling property,” he said. “We’ve been very successful.”

The town must follow specific state guidelines it comes to reviewing and selling town-owned property.

Derry has some catching up to do, officials said.

“The town’s procedure calls for an annual review cycle that begins no later than July 1, which did not occur,” Budreau said. “I’ve laid out an aggressive schedule to catch up with land deals.”

Instead of allowing too much time to go by without any action on property sales, Budreau suggested following a timeline to follow including asking all town departments and boards to look at the list and give input, abutter notice, hosting two public hearings and then a Town Council vote.

Recently, a piece of town land was sold at 13 Manchester Road that warranted two hearings prior to the final sale.

Derry could own upward of 100 properties. Many are schools, parks and town fields. Other properties make the inventory list due to people’s failure to pay taxes or other reasons.

The town owns several properties downtown, including the former Difeo oil property that could be earmarked for future development.

That site will be the topic of a future meeting specifically on downtown property.

Budreau said Derry has taken ownership of property through a variety of situations, including auctions and the tax-deeding process.

The goal, he said, is to recoup any unpaid taxes and, most importantly, get the property back on the tax rolls.