OXFORD – The town will seek a legal opinion as to whether parcels at the former Robinson woolen mill can be sold off, as the owner of the property hopes to do.

The Planning Board unanimously made the decision at its Thursday night meeting.

While the town hasn’t taken physical ownership of the 7.5-acre King Street property, it recently foreclosed on it for nonpayment of $244,920 in taxes over the past three years. The property is valued at $3.8 million.

John Robinson, a Republican state legislator from Raymond and sixth-generation member of the mill family, said last week that he hopes to sell certain pieces of mill property as well as other properties in town to pay the back taxes.

However, Code Enforcement Officer Rodney Smith said selling parcels of mill property could force Robinson to go through the subdivision process.

Town Manager Michael Chammings said a property needs to go through such a process if it is divided into more than two lots every five years. Last fall, Robinson separated an approximately 4-acre marina property, valued at about $650,000, from the rest of the mill site. He said last week that the marina is one of the lots that he plans to sell.

Chammings said the mill site is complex, as it was created from a variety of lots that were put together for tax purposes.

Planning Board members also expressed interest in reopening a road that connected Pleasant Street and King Street. The public way has been closed for decades after structures at the mill were built across it.

“We obviously would like to open that back up,” Chammings said.

Robinson has said he still hopes to go forward with renovation plans for the mill, which would convert the property into residential and commercial space. The space would include retail stores and restaurants, a textile museum and residential units.

Town efforts supporting the redevelopment have included creation of a tax increment financing district and on-site mill redevelopment zone, as well as a $10,000 Community Development Block Grant.

Structures on the property include a three-story brick mill, a wastewater treatment plant, a dam and the Mill End Store. The mill ceased operation in 2003.


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