Neighbors convince aldermen not to sell city parcel

Milford’s Board of Aldermen voted down the sale of city owned land to a neighboring property owner when they met Monday, July 11.

The aldermen were presented with a recommendation from the Planning and Zoning Board to offer 13 Pomona Avenue by sealed bid to the adjacent property owners at 9 and 21 Pomona Avenue.

The idea of selling the 25-foot strip of land between the two properties was initiated by one of the property owners, Arthur Renfrew.

Renfrew wrote to the city attorney in April, stating that he had recently bought a bank owned parcel at 9 Pomona Avenue and wanted to buy the adjacent strip of city owned land.

“This strip of land currently has large overgrown trees hanging over my property, brush and trash buildup,” Renfrew wrote. “I would be interested in acquiring this piece of land to add to the current property on 9 Pomona Avenue.”

Neighbors, however, stepped to the podium at Monday’s aldermen’s meeting to fight the sale.

Mike and Teresa Nowlin, who live on Robbie Circle, behind the land in question, said they tried to buy the property from the city around 15 years ago and were turned down.

“There are too many unanswered questions,” Mike Nowlin said, such as why sell to this man who just bought the adjacent land and why limit the sale to two property owners when anyone should be able to buy the land.

“There’s really just no need to do this at this time,” another neighbor said.

The city has owned the vacant land since 1961, and it is appraised at $4,560. It measures 25 feet by 100 feet.

The majority of Milford’s aldermen agreed that there were too many questions to approve a sale this week and they voted it down. Initially some aldermen talked about at least opening up the bid to other nearby property owners. Alderman Brian Bier (R-1) asked if there were other options, such as putting a minimum bid on the property, or splitting it.

But Nowlin asked them to consider just keeping the slip of land as open space.

Alderman Nick Veccharelli (D-2) said he thought it best that the city keep the property.

“I don’t think we have to sell every bit of property we have,” Veccharelli said.

Janet Golden (D-2) agreed, saying, “I’m a proponent of keeping open space. Why not just keep it as it is?”

Alderman Bryan Anderson (D-5) suggested the sale be outright denied.

The aldermen voted 13-1 to deny the sale. Alderman Bier voted in favor of the sale. He had said earlier that sometimes this kind of sale can increase the property value for the buyer, and thereby increase values in the surrounding area. “Sometimes people get anxious,” Bier said, “and at the end of the day it turns out to not be such a terrible thing.”

Renfrew was not at the meeting.

Teresa Nowlin said later this week that she is happy with the way the matter was resolved and that the strip of land cannot be developed.