Thursday, August 6, 2009

Possible zoning problem with demolition of 386 Bliss Road

The 386 Bliss Road property is zoned RA-1.

From Article VI- section A of the Longmeadow Zoning Bylaws.

In the Residence A-l Zone no dwelling shall be erected or maintained on a lot having a frontage of less than 125 feet for an interior lot and 140 feet for a corner lot or having an area of less than 18,750 square feet.


Because the frontage of this lot on Bliss Road is only 71.0 ft (less than the minimum of 140 ft required for a corner lot) …. Would this property be considered non-conforming by the Longmeadow zoning bylaw cited above?

Therefore, if the original structure is demolished as suggested in my previous post as the likely scenario for a new owner…. Would a variance by the Longmeadow ZBA be required for a new structure to be erected on the site? Is it likely that it would be granted?

Here is an interesting idea that might be considered by the abutting property owner….

1. Purchase the 386 Bliss Road property and demolish the building.
2. Combine the two adjacent lots
3. Redivide the lot into two new parcels- each ~ 0.50 acre in size. Build a new dwelling on the second parcel which would appear to meet the existing zoning bylaws (see sketch below).

The second “new” lot would likely have a market value of $175-200K given the current assessment valuation of land for this section of town.

The town is hoping to recoup their $100K expenses which would be added to the General Fund.

Let’s hope that the town realizes at least that amount during next week’s auction and that this property is re-established as a contributor to Longmeadow’s property tax rolls.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

386 Bliss Road, Longmeadow- Visual Inspection

Here are some inside photos from the inspection tour held at 386 Bliss Road earlier today... This property is scheduled for public auction next week. See previous post for additional details about the auction.

The above photos suggest that the condition of the house is better than it really is.... I didn't go into the basement but reports from others who did suggested that the levels of mold and mildew were very high. In addition, there was evidence of widespread wood rot. My opinion (and I am certainly not an expert in this area) is that the best thing for the both the neighborhood, the new property owner and the town is a complete demolition.

July Home Sales for Longmeadow

There was some good news this month....
  • The July median sales price (average of trailing 6 months) showed an increase during the past month to $320,000 and was 5.4% higher vs. July 2008.
  • The median sales price in July was at the highest level since the peak in October 2007 ($320,000 vs. $350,000) and the continuing trend this year appears to be up.

On the negative side...

  • The number of Longmeadow homes sold in the July 2009 period was significantly lower vs. the corresponding period in 2008 (17 vs. 27).
  • 2009 YTD Longmeadow home sales were equivalent to 2008 YTD (91) and significantly lower vs. 2006 and 2007 periods (91 vs. 125- 2006 and 118- 2007).
  • There appeared to be a resurgence in home sales during the first four months of 2009 (January - April) ... possibly due to low mortgage rates... but the home sales for the past four months (April - July) were at the lowest levels in the past 4 years.
  • 46 out of 91 (52%) homes sold in 2009 were at less than the official Town of Longmeadow assessed value (see figure 2) continuing a trend that has been seen for the past two years.
  • The median sales price for July 2009 (average of trailing 6 months) is still 8.6% lower vs. the peak reached in October 2007 ($320,000 vs. $350,000).

Earlier this year it appeared that home sales in Longmeadow in 2009 were on track to be improved vs. 2008 but the recent increases in home mortgage interest rates appear to be slowing down this resurgence. However, with increasing median home sales prices it does appear that a bottom may be forming for the Longmeadow real estate market (as well as the rest of the US). This combined with a recovery economy may lead to a more normally functioning real estate market in 2010.

[click chart to enlarge]

Below is a chart showing the relationship between recent Longmeadow real estate Sales Prices and Assessed Values (data obtained from Vision Appraisal website). ~50% of the homes sold in 2009 YTD were purchased at prices less than the official assessment value.

The chart below shows that the median sales price (6 month trailing average) for July 2009 continued to increase to $320,000 (5.4% higher than July 2008) but it is still 8.6% lower vs. peak of $350,000 reached in October 2007.

Here is a link to the data for 2006-2009 Real Estate Transactions that were used to develop the above graphs. Longmeadow's #1 Business and Community website