EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

November 3, 2013

Salem police property could be rezoned

SALEM, N.H. — Selectmen will consider a proposal tonight to rezone the police station property on Veterans Memorial Parkway.

But don’t expect anything to happen to the station — or the 15.5 acres on which it sits — any time soon.

Although there’s been talk of the need for a state-of-the-art station for years, there are no immediate plans to build a new facility, according to Selectmen Chairman Everett McBride and Deputy Police Chief Shawn Patten.

When the board meets at 7 p.m. at Town Hall, selectmen and Town Manager Keith Hickey will discuss the need to rezone the property to get the best possible price in case it’s sold, McBride said Friday.

“The idea is if we build a new police station somewhere else, we want to get the most money we can for it,” McBride said.

But the town isn’t expected to consider plans for a new station until 2017 or 2018 at the earliest, he said. Hickey was out of the office Friday and could not be reached for comment.

Even though the town hasn’t decided whether it will sell or keep the property, selectmen need to consider all possible alternatives, McBride said.

To sell the property, the best option is to rezone it for commercial use, he said.

He said while some of the property is zoned commercial, the rest is zoned residential.

“The idea is to make it all commercial,” McBride said.

The town acquired the property in 1965 and built the station a year later, according to tax documents. It’s assessed at $2.7 million.

When Hickey presented his five-year capital improvement plan to selectmen in June 2012, he called for the construction of a $8.7 million police station and a West End fire station in addition to several multimillion-dollar road and bridge projects.

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