City of Somerville

Agenda Item
Placed on File
Dec 12, 2019 7:00 PM

That the City take by eminent domain for a public purpose the property at 217 Somerville Ave, for the sum of $1,200,000.


Department:City CouncilSponsors:Ward Two City Councilor Jefferson Thomas ("J.T.") Scott


  1. AmLegion_Taking(1)

Official Text

That this Board consider and approve the attached Order of Taking for 217 Somerville Ave.


I would be grateful for the Law Department's assistance in the preparation of this order. Thank you for your consideration of this matter.



Jefferson Thomas Scott, Ward 2 Alderman

Meeting History

Aug 23, 2018 7:00 PM Video City Council Regular Meeting

Alderman Scott reported that this property is abandoned and overgrown and has rodents, and could be made into a park. It was recently purchased by a developer and does not have a current use or any current plans. Alderman Ballantyne said a park would be wonderful, but there needs to be a negotiation before acquiring the property. Alderman Scott responded that this is not a negotiation, it's how eminent domain works, using fair market value. Alderman Niedergang said the city should take every step possible to get more open space, and he would like to explore this proposal further.

Feb 26, 2019 6:00 PM Video Finance Committee Committee of the Whole

Councilor Scott stated that he riled this request for the taking on 10/30/18 and was concerned about the delay in addressing it Mr. Proakis stated that the City had obtained an appraisal for the property at $1,220,000. Mr. Proakis stated that a taskforce was formed about three weeks ago and a title question held up the response initially. Mr. Proakis offered to speak further with Councilor Scott on the use. The current state of the lot was discussed and members were informed that the building on the site had been demolished. Councilor Hirsch asked what would have to come off the capital project list in order to fund the acquisition of this property and how this acquisition addresses the goal of open space. The committee discussed the impact of the addition of new items to the capital plan on items that are already on the list. Councilor Ballantyne talked about a priority list that was shared with the community. Healey was first priority on the list, followed by the Brown School and West Somerville and Kennedy. Councilor Scott stated that he had spoken with residents and knocked on doors in the community. The developer acted without delay to tear down the building and that residents in the neighborhood are clear that they do not want more condos on that site. Councilor Niedergang stated that these types of opportunities rarely come up and $1M can be added on to our current financial obligations. Ms. McGettigan stated if the property is taken for open space, it will be dedicated into perpetuity or can take for general municipal purposes. For the City to actually take property by eminent domain, the Mayor would have to submit an appropriation request, which has not been done. The item was kept in committee to await information from the administration on its intentions on the item.

Jun 4, 2019 6:00 PM Video Finance Committee Committee of the Whole

Councilor Scott noted that the Mayor's office seems dedicated to a process that is delaying the movement of this issue. Ms. Connor noted that the Open Space Task Force is finalizing its report, which will include a list of criteria for evaluating these types of opportunities.

Dec 3, 2019 6:00 PM Video Finance Committee Committee Meeting
Dec 12, 2019 7:00 PM Video City Council Regular Meeting