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Proposals sought for French-Taylor House

August 06, 2020
MOULTONBOROUGH — The town is looking for marketing proposals on the French-Taylor House after voters approved tabling an article at town meeting that would put money toward the house's demolition. Now the Heritage Commission is hoping someone will step forward with a proposal soon.

After discussion by the selectmen during the July 23 meeting, town administrator Walter Johnson agreed to accept proposals from any real estate agents interested in selling the property for its reuse and preservation.

The decision came at the urging of the Heritage Commission and a number of residents after voters moved to table an article that would put $75,000 toward demolishing the property.

Numerous studies have shown the building's historic value and options for reuse and preservation. A proposal was made in 2018 for the building to become an antique shop but that plan didn't come to fruition. The property was put on the market last December with a listing that expired around Memorial Day. Heritage Commission chair Cristina Asjian said the tail end of that listing was impacted by the pandemic.

Article 19 on this year's town warrant called for $75,000 to be made available for the demolition of the French-Taylor House.

During town meeting on June 29, Asjian passed out information on the building's historic value and the studies recommending its reuse. She said during the meeting a number of people spoke against the article, urging the town to keep the building standing and move forward with finding a buyer.

Heritage Commission member David Oliver made a motion for the article to be tabled and voters decided in favor.

Around the same time, a buyer was found for the Moultonborough Grange Hall building, which had been on the market for a year and a half.

In mid July, Asjian wrote an email to the selectmen asking for them to discuss the house with her during a meeting and to take steps forward to relist the property. She said they could take what they learned from that short listing to move forward with listing it again.

"Attendees at Town Meeting spoke eloquently about reasons to not tear down the Taylor House, aside from the fact that demolition of a landmark historic building is not supported by any of our planning studies (Master Plan, Village Vision, both Charrettes, UNH First Impressions), and that its re-use or redevelopment would meet planning, heritage and economic development goals," Asjian wrote. "It was noted that the Moultonborough Grange Hall has finally found a buyer, after 1 one and a half years on the market. Let's move ahead now and re-list the Taylor property to achieve our community planning goals."

Asjian said there has been general support in the community for preserving and re-listing the Taylor House, including a post on the Moultonborough Speaks blog in support of the selectmen moving forward on the listing.

The selectmen discussed the Taylor House during their July 23 workshop. According to the draft minutes of the July 23 meeting, town administrator Walter Johnson asked if the board wanted to re-list the property with a broker for the same price as they did before. Johnson said he would be willing to interview local brokers to get their feelings of the potential to sell the property. Selectman Joel Mudgett and board chair Kevin Quinlan said the town should seek public input on how the property would be used. Johnson said any potential proposed use of the building would go before a public meeting and through the planning and zoning process. He said he could instruct brokers that any use of the property would have to fit with the town character.

Both Mudgett and Quinlan said they weren't in favor of listing the property unless there was a plan for its use. Mudgett suggested that brokers could come in and present their sales plan to the board and Johnson agreed.

Asjian said she is gratified that the selectmen decided to take this action. She said they are now looking for someone to submit a marketing proposal and they are hoping for someone to come forward by the end of August.

Klumb Environmenta;
Varney Smith
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