Published in the March 15, 2017 edition
By MAUREEN DOHERTY
LYNNFIELD — Nearly three years after the town took the 1785 Rev. Joseph Mottey House by eminent domain, a buyer has successfully bid $935,000 for it.
Steven and Kelly Migliero of Tappan Way were the only bidders to return the town’s Request for Proposals (RFPs) for the unique property. The sealed bids were opened March 3. The Miglieros had stepped forward last year with a proposal to purchase and renovate the property for use as their family’s home.
Better known as Centre Farm at 567 Main St., where it sits on nearly seven acres of land in the heart of the town center nestled between two ancient burying grounds, voters overwhelmingly supported the taking in June 2014 to prevent it from being subdivided.
The Donovan family had owned it for several decades and they were ready to sell, so they offered the town first dibs with the hope that the next owners would be good stewards as they had been.
Subdividing the property for additional house lots would have necessitated removal of portions of the expansive house and its adjoining 2-1/2 story barn. It was determined that the only way the land and its buildings could be protected from being subdivided was if the town bought it, added restrictive covenants to the deed, and either put it out to bid for sale as a single family home or ensured it remained under the town’s control and an appropriate civic or commercial use could be found for it.
The vision for the latter never came to fruition, mainly due to the fact that the requirements to make it handicap accessible, invest in the appropriate upgrades and create on-site parking would have severely altered the landscape and buildings – precisely what the voters had intended to avoid in order to preserve the character and property values of the town center for the benefit of all the town’s citizens.
At Monday night’s Board of Selectmen’s meeting, Chairman Phil Crawford said, “This is something I am very happy to announce.” Commenting that Steve Migliero is a lifelong resident, Crawford added, “we couldn’t be happier that he and his wife want to buy Centre Farm and fix it up” for their own use. They are using a historic architect to do the repairs and restore it back to its architectural significance from over 200 years ago.”
Crawford explained that the Miglieros’ proposal is currently being evaluated by the Lynnfield Historic Commission which “will review the renovations they want to make. Once those have been approved by the Historic Commission, which is part of the process, they will be able to move forward with a purchase and sale agreement.” The commission’s next meeting is March 22.
The historic restrictions in the deed were developed with the consultation of town officials, town counsel and both the local and Massachusetts Historic Commission.
“We’re very happy about it. They’re extremely happy about it,” Crawford said, adding that over the past year the value of the property increased by $100,000. “So we got another $100,000 now than we would have a year ago.”
Town Administrator Jim Boudreau told the board they needed to vote to approve the sale to the Miglieros. “As people drive by you’ll see that there is some work going out out front. We needed to put in a new septic system. That (project) is being paid for through the escrow (account) that was held when we bought the property and that work is going on now.” Boudreau said Town Engineer Charlie Richter “bid that out.”
“This is certainly a win-win for Lynnfield. I am very happy that the town moved in that direction to protect the Centre Farm and retain the character of the center of Lynnfield,” said Selectman Chris Barrett. “Hopefully we end up awarding it to them. I think they are a great family. They are long-time Lynnfield residents and they care deeply about the community. …I look forward to seeing this move forward.”
The vote to award the successful bid of Centre Farm to Steven and Kelly Migliero by Crawford, Barrett and Selectman Dick Dalton was unanimous.