BELFAST — City councilors rejected five bids for a tax-foreclosed property on Marsh Road at their Dec. 7 meeting. They also voted to remove two apple trees.

Councilor Mike Hurley moved to reject the bids because he thought the 1.36-acre lot was buildable and did not want to sell it for a price far below its potential market value. The property, Lot 14 on Map 16, was assessed by the city at $10,500 in 2019.

Dan Ford of Hope bid $12,600 for the parcel, Channelize LLC of Portland bid $5,000, Jerry Robbins Sr. of Belfast bid $3,000, Craig Robbins of Montville bid $3,500, Jake Weisberg of Somerville, Massachusetts, bid $2,100, and a bid from Dan McQuarrie of Holden for $4,039.99 was withdrawn.

The bids were opened at a previous meeting where the council also opened bids for a tax-foreclosed property at 39 Smart Road. The council accepted the highest bid for the Smart Road property, which was $12,600 from Ford. The town valued that property at $52,000 in 2019. Councilors tabled the bids for the Marsh Road property at that meeting.

Councilor Mary Mortier said the return on the investment for the Marsh Road property would be greater if the city waits to sell the property until after the Planning Board has completed its zoning changes for rural parts of the city. A corner of the property is located in a different zoning district from the rest of the parcel. Under the currently proposed zoning changes, the property will be all in one zoning district.

“This is a lot that is like a poster child almost for some of this major review that (the Planning Board has) been undertaking,” she said. “… So I think for the sake of having a couple of months, that it would behoove us on behalf of the taxpayers to wait for this new zoning to be voted on and approved, hopefully, by the council, and then put the lot out for sale with the new and improved zoning and ordinances and information that can be easily understood by an average person.”

In other business, councilors approved the removal of two overgrown apple trees hanging into the road at 17 Footbridge Road, City Manager Erin Herbig said. The owner of the property next to the trees intends to plant new vegetation on the property.

Hurley said he wanted to be sure the trees approved for removal get removed. One dangerous tree previously approved for removal has not been taken down yet, he said. Benner’s Tree Service is aware of that tree, but the company has a backlog of work and is short-staffed, Herbig said.

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