Sale of Fire Station Hears Objection

            With only one hearing on its February 15 agenda, it seemed the Mattapoisett Zoning Board of Appeals would be holding a quiet and quick meeting. But what ensued was the reading of a letter by one of the bidders to purchase the decommissioned fire station objecting to the sale, not the Special Permit filing.

            The sale of the former fire station, 26 County Road, was handled by the Select Board based on proposed new use and the bid offer.

            Local business owner Michael Sudofsky and the business entity Sakonnet Properties LLC of New Bedford both submitted bids when the town offered up the property for sale with an eye towards redevelopment.

            Sudofsky initially was the winner with a bid higher than that of Sakonnet Properties, but the bid process carried various stipulations including a deposit by the bidders to be paid in a set period of time. Sudofsky, according to Town Administrator Mike Lorenco, had failed to meet the deadline. As Lorenco explained, “when (Sudofsky’s) bid was nonresponsive, the bid went to Sakonnet.”

            After the presentation by Sakonnet’s engineer Steve Gioiosa of SITEC in which he described parking plans, exterior treatment and a plan to redevelop the site into commercial office space with a second-floor apartment, the floor was opened to the public.

            Sudofsky said he wanted to read a letter into the minutes, expressing his objections to the manner in which the RFP was handled by the town.

            Chairman Susan Akin attempted to explain to Sudofsky that the board was not responsible for the bid award and was just following through with a Special Permit for change of use. Sudofsky asserted his right to be heard and read the letter.

            “I was the original winner … I proposed a village grocer,” Sudofsky began. He claimed that in giving the bid to Sakonnet the town had lost $300,000, “…the town has breached its duty.”

            Attorney Chris Saunders, representing Sakonnet, told the board that objections to the bid itself were not germane to the issue at hand, adding that, “my client agreed to the town’s directives.”

            The town’s counsel in this matter, Mat Thomas, said, “These issues are not relative to the Special Permit,” and that it was the Select Board which had chosen the bid winner.

            After reading his letter, Sudofsky exited the meeting and cautioned the board about deciding the matter.

            In a follow-up, Lorenco stated, “(Sudofsky) is right, he had the highest bid, but it was deemed a ‘no responsive bid’ due to his not complying with the terms of the RFP. His claims of unfair terms within the Purchase and Sales (agreement) seem null, as they are the same terms being agreed to by the second bidder.”

            Lorenco went on to say, “As for his complaints on the following of timeframes in the RFP, I will note the town gave him plenty of time to rectify his nonresponsive bid. He refused to comply, so the town was forced to move to the next responsive bidder.”

            As for Sakonnet’s proposed redevelopment plans, Gioiosa spoke to the issue of parking, landscaping, ADA compliance and that the look of the completed project will be good for the area.

            The ZBA members unanimously approved the Special Permit.

            The next meeting of the Mattapoisett Zoning Board of Appeals is scheduled for Thursday, March 21, at 6:00 pm.

Mattapoisett Zoning Board of Appeals

By Marilou Newell

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