The Nobscot Chapel was granted a reprieve from the auction block Tuesday night after selectmen concurred with Town Manager Bob Halpin’s assessment that the abandoned building should be withdrawn from a town property auction, scheduled for Sept. 20.
“I’m recommending that the town delay including the property in the auction,” Halpin said to the board, “but we get on some path to get the chapel on the tax rolls.”
“The chapel is important to the neighbors and to the town,” said Selectman Laurie Lee, who lives in the Nobscot neighborhood. She indicated that the town would not be happy if a speculator picked up the chapel at auction and didn’t develop the property. “This (withdrawal from the auction) is the right choice.”
Halpin said the lack of parking space would have to be addressed and the solution might come from the shopping center. Currently there are efforts underway to bring in new tenants.
Selectmen Vice-Chairman Dennis Giombetti successfully moved that the town manager review the status of the chapel property every six months and report to the board on any progress revitalizing Nobscot Shopping Center.
The chapel will have to go through a tax title auction eventually, according to Halpin’s report. But the town can impose two conditions on the property when it goes on the block:
1. The town will have the right to extract an easement along Edgell Road and Water Street to allow for future widening of the roads.
2. The town can stipulate that the building not be demolished or its exterior substantially altered.
One thing the town cannot restrict is how the chapel would be used after it is conveyed. Any new owner of the chapel would be subject to the local zoning regulations.
Under the town’s zoning laws for a community business district (B-2) allowed uses include retail, personal services, professional offices, banks, medical offices, artists’ studios, health clubs, schools and tradesman shops.