On Monday, City Council will decide on a special use permit for a long-abandoned gas station on State Street sold for $35,125 last year to local businessman, Mark Bonner.
When the tax sale certificate was sold there were other credible buyers willing to pay $70,000 or more for the blighted lot and building. City Council voted four to one (I was the NO vote) to skip the higher offers and sell the property for $35,125 to Mr. Bonner. There were assertions made the lot would be home to a Tim Horton's restaurant.
No such event happened and now as a stopgap use of the property, Mr. Bonner is seeking to lease the property to a nearby automotive repair business that also sells used cars and wants to display cars on the 804 State Street lot. Under the zoning law, such a use requires granting of a special use permit, just like the Red & White Auto Sales on Arsenal Street did some years ago.
The way I look at it the City and its taxpayers have a $35,000 investment in the property since that is the amount the land was discounted to the current owner. With that subsidy in mind, I believe the Council has far more of an interest in the use of the property than if it had been sold at a market price.
The reasons for selling to Mr. Bonner were never really explained other than a promise had been made to him prior to other buyers becoming aware of and interested in the sale of the land.
This is an interesting dilemma for lawmakers on Monday night.
Watertown Daily Times | City voting Monday on car-lot permit