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Town Takes Historic Nobscot Chapel

The town took ownership of the chapel in Nobscot and plans to put the property up for auction.

 The future of the long-neglected Nobscot Union Chapel seems brighter today as the town has taken over the 19th century meeting house and plans to put the chapel up for auction.

The town gained possession of the chapel through foreclosure on August 2 because there was an outstanding balance of at least $15,000 in water and utility charges. The town started moving against the property in 2004, said Town treasurer Steve Price.

The chapel is located at the intersection of Water Street and Edgell Road in Nobscot and was built around 1885.

Laurie Lee, a town Selectman, and a resident of the neighborhood, said determining ownership of the property was complicated because it was owned by trustees, many of whom are deceased, that created the Nobscot Chapel Association.

“If there was a clear line of owner responsibility, the town wouldn’t do this (taking the property). But the town had no choice,” said Lee, who emphasized she was speaking solely as a resident and not as a Selectman. The topic of the Nobscot Chapel has not officially been brought before the Board of Selectmen.

In Framingham, the Town Manager is tax title custodian and will work with the Board of Selectmen to establish a date for an auction, according to Price.

Stephen Meltzer, a Framingham attorney and founder of the Framingham-based Land Conservation and Advocacy Trust, had investigated the chapel situation and was beginning work on ways to conserve the property. “I had talked to some of the trustees and they were amiable to the idea of saving the chapel,” said Meltzer. “But it was too little, too late. The town had already started the process (of taking the property).”

“If it goes to auction, who knows what will happen,” he said. 

Meltzer said he may try and raise funds and bid on the chapel at an auction, but he wasn’t sure if he could pull together enough funds to even meet the property’s assessed value of about $283,000.

“An alternative would be if the town is willing, it could dispose of the property below market value if there was enough public interest,” said Meltzer. “It would have to demonstrate public support for that.”

Meltzer said he had the building evaluated and found that it is structurally sound and with some cosmetic and minor work could be put in use.

“My vision would be to place the building under preservation and have it available for community use. It could be a meeting place for neighborhood groups.”


Leo Massey August 22, 2011 at 03:29 PM
What? You jerks are ruining this board for everyone else. It ought to be a nice place for people to discuss things going on around town. Instead you're using it as your pulpit to lecture us all on one issue. When immigration comes up in an article, fine, discuss it. Otherwise, can you just stick to the content of the article?
kylon August 22, 2011 at 04:00 PM
What has been explained to me about my area ( nobscot ) is the owners are holding out for "anchor developments" not the small bakery, coffee, gift shops. Which is sad considering the space is prefect for families to walk to. And the new retirement community around the corner would I'm sure appreciate a some type of produce store. I would love to see a farmers market and pre-school play ground...
Jim Rizoli August 22, 2011 at 04:44 PM
Jim Rizoli CCFIILE.COM Leo.....We happened to enjoy our freedom of speech on this forum and happily give our opinions on this site. You also have the option to do so, but I guess your capability of you having an honest and reasonable discussion is lacking as is with the hundreds of others that daily visit the site. So you want to stop guys like us that have a different opinion than you. Maybe you should educate yourself on the issues and then contribute to the conversation and maybe, just maybe the town will take some action to solve some of it worst problems facing us. As it is now Law and Order is much lacking in this and other towns and sad to say people are dieing because of it.
Leo Massey August 22, 2011 at 05:23 PM
Have whatever opionion you want ... ABOUT THE SUBJECT AT HAND. We're talking about the Chapel in Nobscot. My opinion on the plaza is that being sandwiched between retail areas on Route 20 and Route 9 eliminates the need for retail space in Nobscot. There's demand for convenience stores, donut shops and pizzarias but not much more. A decade of disuse and empty store fronts supports my position. I'd like to see the area rezoned.
Jim Rizoli August 22, 2011 at 08:36 PM
Jim Rizoli CCFIILE.COM Leo...I agree with you, something has to be done. What type of rezoning are you talking about.


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