OXFORD – Selectmen voted unanimously Thursday to hold a public hearing to discuss the possibility of having the town purchase the Robinson Mfg. Co. woolen mill treatment plant on King Street.

A hearing was not scheduled due to the absence of Town Manager Michael Chammings.

The plant services between 16 and 18 properties in Oxford village, including the town office.

In March, the town foreclosed on the property after $244,920 in taxes went unpaid over the past three years. The mill closed in 2003. Besides the treatment plant, the property also includes a three-story brick mill building, dam, and other buildings, with a total value of $3.8 million.

John Robinson, a sixth-generation member of the mill family, has said he would like to sell some property at the site to pay back the taxes. The Republican legislator from Raymond has also said he would like to continue with plans to convert the property into residential and commercial space to include restaurants, retail stores and a textile museum.

The hearing will discuss whether the town should purchase the 600,000-gallon-per-day capacity plant for $1.

On Thursday, selectmen’s Chairman Floyd Thayer said one reason for the purchase would be to prevent a possible closure of the plant by the Department of Environmental Protection.

Fred Gallant, an environmental specialist with the DEP, previously said that the plant’s five-year industrial license expired in December.

“They’ve given (Robinson) quite a bit of leeway, but eventually the DEP is going to shut this sewage treatment plant down,” Thayer said.

On April 13, Chammings and Robinson signed a land-purchase-installment agreement to have Robinson pay $162,970.88 in back taxes to the town. Town Clerk Ellen Morrison said that is a lien amount, which, if paid, will bring the mill out of automatic foreclosure.

Morrison said Robinson has made the first payment of $1,000 to the town. The agreement states that Robinson must pay $7,000 by July 13, $80,000 by Oct. 13, and finish payments by March 13. He must also make current tax payments.

Robinson also agreed to “grant an easement to (Oxford) for any portion of the treatment facility that may infringe on any other property owned by (Robinson).”


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