City soon to own four tax-sale lots
By Gordon Dritschilo
Staff Writer | October 19,2013
The city’s share of the northwest neighborhood may soon increase fourfold.
The city acquired four houses in the neighborhood at tax sale last year, and the redemption period ends Nov. 13.
Unless an owner or lienholder comes through with the full amount owed on the properties by then, the city will own the properties at 93 Crescent St., 140 Grove St., 142-144 Grove St. and 17-19 Meadow St. — joining 37 Pine St. from a previous tax sale.
The four houses, three of them clustered together on the corner of Grove and Crescent, are all owned by David Clayson. City Treasurer Wendy Wilton said they attracted no bids when they went to tax sale last year, though there were bids on other properties that went up for sale at the same time.
“Maybe it’s because they were old multi-families — I don’t know,” Wilton said. “I can’t tell you why people didn’t show up.”
Wilton said she has had numerous inquiries regarding the city’s upcoming tax sales.
“I think the market’s a little different, too,” she said. “I have a sense there’s going to be more interest this year. Mortgage rates are still low. I’ve seen some property move on the regular market that had been there for a while. Maybe we’re turning a corner.”
Mayor Christopher Louras said the city is still pondering the fate of 37 Pine St., which it acquired at a tax sale in 2011.
Louras said there are three options. The first is to use it to fulfill a condition in a grant the city police are seeking as part of Project VISION. The $1 million grant would help target police activities and require the city to maintain a facility in the target area for outreach workers, a public safety presence, and a social services presence.
Louras said the city is waiting to see if it gets the grant and whether the house would serve the grant’s purpose.
The second option is to raze the house.
“Knock it down,” Louras said. “Demolish it. Turn it into green space and create a more open environment between adjacent houses.”
The third would be to use it as a pilot project targeting affordable home ownership, selling it as “well below market rate,” with a deed covenant requiring it remain as an owner-occupied property.
Not on the table, Louras said, is continuing to rent it out. The city is in the process of evicting the last remaining tenant.
“It’s a no-cause eviction,” Louras said. “It’s because the city has determined we want to go in a different direction. The city of Rutland is not in the business of being a landlord.”