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Historical Commission Declines to Vote on Andrew School Demolition

by Bobby Blair
February 7, 2018

Historical Commission Chairwoman, Kim Sullivan, Tuesday night read Article 29 of town meeting which residents voted to authorize the sale, demolition or rehabilitation of the Andrew School at 17 School Street. The saga of the two story brick building built during WPA (Works Project Administration) days at the end of the Great Depression and just prior to WWII continues to unfold. The commission had received a email letter from the town's building inspector informing them "While there have been numerous proposals and attempts to re-develop the property the Town has sold the property with the stipulation that the cost of demolition be the responsibility of the new buyer. Once the abatement is completed and all utilities have been turned off I will accept the application for and will process it. I would appreciate it if the Board would make an official statement for the file so that all the paper work is in compliance with our BY-Laws". The letter was signed by Peter Tartakoff, Inspector of Buildings and dated January 30th 2018.

Sullivan stated that the demolition, from the building inspector's perspective, has already been approved. Sullivan asked fellow commission members if the goal of her board was to make the matter a punitive action. Member Judy Grosjean, forefront above, said the building has been neglected by the town for years and now they want us to sprinkle fairy dust on it. Fellow member Carol Kosiki stated "how are we supposed to follow state laws by voting on something when we have no demolition application to vote on. The commission simply took no action in regards to the demolition matter.

Selectmen last fall voted to sell the property for $1,000 to O'Leary Builders over builder Dennis Morgan who offered the town $75,000 for the former school. Steve O'Leary hopes to place four residential units on the property, while Morgan had hoped to rehab the building for apartments.


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Comments (4)

May I safely assume that there is a contracts to assure Holliston will not end up with an unfulfilled agreement leaving Holliston to clean up a mess, and with a bond to cover fulfillment of the agreement?

- JohnLosch | 2/10/18 7:40 PM

"Lowest Qualified Bidder". The meeting is public record and on Viebit for your viewing pleasure. I attended in person on another topic and sat thru it. The abuttors attended the meeting and stated their concerns with the $75K proposal. They voiced opinion to go with O'Leary and if you watch the video you'll see that they weren't colluding b/c the neighbors brow-beat the selectmen b/c they didn't know about the meeting and were afraid the selectment didn't want the O'Leary proposal. The $75K bid had some questionable items which "would be worked out" after the sale. Frankly...I was in favor of the $75K bid originally...but as I listened to folks....swung the other way b/c of their compelling reasons. Watch the video. I forget what meeting...Town Clerk could help with that. The building is an eyesore and if we passed on these two bidders.....may have been saddled with the headache permanently as builders wouldn't waste their time b/c of it being a perceived quagmire. The property was sold "As Is". At this point, we have a builder who will remediate the building situation, build structures that fit with the neighborhood, not contribute to the tight parking situation...and the neighbors are happy. To me...case closed. -Jay

- Jay Robinson | 2/7/18 3:01 PM

Just a few points of clarification: No member of the Board of Selectman has a personal relationship with Mr. O'Leary. The Board held numerous meetings, all of which were open to the public, to discuss multiple plans to redevelop the Andrews School property. The property had been sitting vacant for a number of years and was becoming an eyesore and an attractive nuisance to the neighborhood. Having just negotiated the removal of the former Flagg school, which cost the Town upwards of over 700,000, the developer's offer in this case to assume the costs of removing the building, saved the Town a substantial amount of money. After reviewing all of the options, the Board chose Mr. O'Leary's proposal as the best option for returning an under utilized parcel back to the tax rolls, while at the same time attempting to balance the concerns of the neighbors from a traffic and density perspective, and offer a development that fits in with both the character and footprint of the neighborhood.

- Jay Marsden-Vice Chair, Holliston Board of Selectman | 2/7/18 2:53 PM

That's an outrage. I guess O'Leary is a friend of the selectmen and the community be damned. Most government rules are to buy from the lowest bidder not sell to. Thank you Historical Commission for not colluding with the selectmen.

- Bsrbara peatie | 2/7/18 11:13 AM



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