Nauset Marine Buys Church Property At Roundabout, Seeks Demolition OK

By: Ed Maroney

Nauset Marine has filed notice of intent to demolish this building at the routes 6A and 28 roundabout. PHOTO FROM DEMOLITION APPLICATION

ORLEANS Nauset Marine has bought a location at the Routes 6A and 28 roundabout that had been eyed as part of a solution for people needing transitional housing. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Fall River sold 54 Route 6A, the former St. Joan of Arc thrift shop, to the nearby marina business for $185,001.

The latest assessed value of the property is $352,800, which includes a $16,000 figure for the building, a structure that dates to the mid-1800s known as the David Young House, named for a former town treasurer.

In an email, Fr. Ken Campbell, convener of the Nauset Interfaith Association, wrote that one of its action teams, the Beloved Community Land Trust, “has been trying for about two years to secure the property in question from the owner, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fall River… It was hoped that the house would be given to us or secured for a nominal payment. The plan or vision was that the house, which is a historic structure, could be restored and used for an interfaith based transitional housing facility.”

Noting that the property “has been vacant for several decades and is in poor condition,” Campbell wrote that “a number of skilled artisans, including Ian Ellison, who is a member of Carpenters Without Borders, had offered their skills without charge to help in this endeavor.”

“We were just waiting to hear word from the church’s realtor about when the church would sell the property,” Ellison said in an interview. “We were going to create 12 to 18 units on that property, and the town extended the construction of the new sewer system so it would serve that house.”

Nauset Marine has filed a notice of intent with the building department to demolish the building, and a demolition delay hearing has been scheduled by the historical commission for Aug. 11 at 10 a.m.

“We have been looking at this old house, sitting on the corner of the roundabout, looking deplorable for some time,” the company stated in its notice. “Someone needs to make this building go away before it falls down. We were recently notified the property was up for sale and decided that the price was too hard to pass up. We have no intentions to store any boats on the property (just in case anyone was wondering). The intent is to keep the property looking natural as it currently does (just without the building).”

Nauset Marine President Todd Walker declined to comment.

“It’s not in deplorable condition,” Ellison said. “It’s in perfectly good condition to be restored. There’s a little bit of rot due to roof leaks in two places, no big deal at all. It is certainly not worth bulldozing.”

Asked to comment on the discrepancy between the sales price and assessed value, Paul F. Brooks, director of facilities and real estate for the Diocese of Fall River, wrote in an email that the listed assessment “does not always mean that a property will be sold for that amount. In theory, a property is valued at what the consumer will pay after considering all issues with the property. For two years, this property was involved in a dispute with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation after an illegal land taking when the state reworked the rotary to widen the road and sidewalk… (The courts) ruled a lower assessed real estate value and awarded $102,009.67 for the land portion that was impacted. This land taken by the state greatly impacted the value for any resale, because it infringed on the required frontage for the property.”

Brooks wrote that the building itself “is in total disrepair,” requiring any buyer “to pay significant costs in abatement, demolition, including foundation then relocate a building foundation to make up for the lost frontage.” He added that two potential buyers had backed out due to the likely delay associated with demolition of an historic building.

Three buyers made offers well under $200,000, according to Brooks, who wrote that the diocese commissioned an assessment by a realtor and came up with a listing around $170,000. The two top bidders were notified, and the top bid of $185,001 was accepted.

A follow-up request to the diocese about its contacts with the Nauset Interfaith Alliance and the Beloved Community Land Trust had not been answered by press time.

“Personally, I am deeply disappointed that this outreach to those in need and community building endeavor as well as the preservation of a historical building is not going to happen,” Campbell wrote. “(The Beloved Community Land Trust) is looking at other possible sites on the Lower and Outer Cape in pursuing this goal. We would be glad of any donations earmarked for this project, which should be made out to Nauset Interfaith, Box 306, South Orleans MA 02662 with memo BCLT.”

Yesterday (July 21), Nauset Marine was to meet with the site plan review committee about a workshop it wants to build at 7 Barley Neck Rd.