BOS still working to save Burnett House, but not for $1.3 million

Above: The fate of the Burnett House is yet to be determined and may end up in the hands of Town voters (contributed photo)

Last night, selectmen assured both residents hoping to preserve the Burnett House and those concerned about the expense.

The Board of Selectmen updated a packed hearing room on their work to preserve the historic home at 84 Main Street.

Many residents have been concerned about the potential tear down of the Burnett House (aka Garfield House). This summer, selectmen began working with the owner, Jon Delli Priscoli, to find a preservation solution. Last week, Delli Priscoli publicly shared a proposal for the Town to buy development rights for $1.3 million.

At this point, the Town is still in negotiations and hoping to reach a preservation deal. As for a figure the Town would agree to, Selectman John Rooney stated that it is not $1.3 million. He said they are looking at “under 7 figures”.

Rooney also said that he believed they were near agreement. He hoped to have news on a deal as early as today.

The board said that if an agreement is reached, Town Meeting voters would need to approve it. Chair Bill Boland said that as the Town’s funding source, the Community Preservation Committee would need to vet the plan first.

CPC Chair Freddie Gillespie explained that for any CP project, an application has to be publicly and thoroughly reviewed in posted meetings.

She also invited the public to attend their annual public hearing on December 4th. At the meeting, CPC will  explain the Community Preservation Act (potential funding source for the house preservation.) This is an annual meeting to get feedback on the Town’s community preservation needs.

But the Town’s CPA budget isn’t the only funding source the Town is looking to. Rooney explained that they and the Historical Commission are investigating other avenues to see if outside funding is available.

Delli Priscoli was at last night’s meeting. He told concerned residents that he has no personal plans to tear down the home. If a deal isn’t approved at Town Meeting, he will sell the property. He sought both the ANR permit and demolition permit to protect the property value.

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9 years ago

I want to thank Selectman Rooney for his work for our town. It seems he has been asked to take on many more of the BOS responsibilities than others. Example that quickly come to mind just recently are the Gulbankien problem, Barn Hollow, the Cemetery, the 911 field, non profit payments, the Burnett House, etc. And add to that list, he proposed the Main Street Committee idea at town meeting that has had the result of bringing the entire community together on this most important town issue. I seem to recall that neither Mr. Boland or Mr. Kalends thought the Main Street committee idea was a good one. The result was the best committee work ever and compromises that make us all better neighbors. If he did not push the Main Street committee idea through at town meeting (something I voted against and now admit my mistake) we would be a town further divided with no plans to fix our infrastructure.

I do not agree with all of his opinions and positions, but I always understand them. I applaud him and hope that he has many years left in him to do this job.

Donna McDaniel
9 years ago

Can’t help but note that Tuesday night’s meeting brought out the largest crowd I’ve ever seen in the McAuliffe hearing room. It was already crowded for the first topic–Main Street.. and, though some left then, it grew even larger when the topic changed to the Burnett House. I lost count after about 80 so I think there may have been 100. Doesn’t sound remarkable? Well, only to those accustomed to a room mostly full of empty chairs.

M. Ferris
9 years ago

If the town has funds set aside for a preservation act then I support a small investment to preserve the ascetic sites in our community, but let’s be real. tax relief for a short period is all we should offer.act not a windfall capitalizing on technical details. As a abutting neighbor I support new homes and more tax contributions to our budget. If we want to be a generous community then let’s use 1.3M to provide relief to the poor and needy. Many heads of households who are struggling. use the funds to qualified residents needing assistance. Stop the nonsense.

If the present owner is sincere in his intentions and a non resident of southboro and truely cares then sell the property to a qualified buyer for $1 more that the cost and fees he has invested and walk away. It’s called integrity. Don’t try to profit off a situation because of your own financial situations at the expense of our community. Peace Out!

Just Curious
9 years ago

M. Ferris wrote “As a abutting neighbor I support new homes and more tax contributions to our budget. ” I believe that Mr, Hamilton has previously posted figures showing that any property taxes gained by building a new home are more than offset by the cost to educate the extra children that come with the new homes.

As for this project, I firmly believe that NO tax dollars, whether put aside for the Community Preservation Act, or ANY other form of taxes should be used for this project.

M. Ferris
9 years ago
Reply to  Just Curious

The reality is new development happens. All communities have smart investment strategies to preserve a community. Weather a fund exists or not I do not know but I do not support flezing the pockets of the rich because of taking advantage of loop holes in our weak bi laws. I agree no tax money should be allocated but our bleeding heart self righteous ideal minded residents and our dumb town meeting vote process allows for idiotic votes to happen.

But let’s get a grip here. Homes and children exist and we have the best school education process anywhere. Take pride in building the education standards for the future generation or move somewhere else. I’m pro business. Anti taxes and against the nonsense of paying off some developer from Sudbury who is disillusioned about doing the right thing. If he has integrity he should not ride the fence. He bought it with what intention? He owns his reputation. We will see what it turns out to be.

Thanks for your comment. Sorry you can own your words with your own name. But info agree in principle.

Doreen A
9 years ago

After attending the Selectmen meeting the other night It is still my feeling that the town should not be giving any funds to a private homeowner even though it has historical significance. This gentleman certainly must have known the history of the house and obviously bought it for a business investment and that was certainly his prerogative. I urge everybody that is opposed to please attend the Special Town Meeting and let your voices be heard.

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