WILTON — A plan to purchase the former Primary School for $1 and turn the building into nine apartments was put on hold Tuesday after the Board of Selectmen heard from residents. They then opted to give other developers a chance to submit proposals before making a decision.

Proposals for the school can be submitted to the town office until Aug. 21 for a review by the board at its Sept. 1 meeting. The board would like to see proof of finances, what would be expected of the town and a full plan, not just a general idea, Selectman Irv Faunce said.

During Tuesday’s public hearing, Keith Swett explained his proposal for the school, the first one received since the town took possession of the property in 2007. His purchase would make the building taxable for the first time and improvements could raise its value to nearly $1 million, he told the large audience. The $1offer offset improvements needed to the building, including asbestos removal.

Several neighbors to the 24 School St. property voiced their concerns regarding an apartment building and the potential for low-income housing.

“We do not want an apartment building of any kind in our neighborhood,” Earlene Lamb said.

Neighbors agreed they would rather have offices, a school or a day care facility in the building rather than an apartment house. Some expressed concerns that their property values would go down if the school was turned into apartments, while others wanted the board to tear the building down and sell the property as house lots.

Demolishing the building would cost the town even more, Selectman Russell Black said. According to figures compiled by Swett, asbestos removal would amount to nearly $50,000 plus the cost of demolition. An underground oil tank will also need to be removed soon, Town Manager Rhonda Irish said.

One person was interested in starting a day care when the price was $180,000 but made no offer, Russell said. The board dropped the price to $149,000 and there still have been no offers. This is the first proposal since the board said they would consider any offer.

“A lot of taxpayers want it on the tax roll. It’s costing the town money. We need to do something,” he said.

One resident asked about the taxpayers sitting there who would lose property value, in effect making an addition to the tax roll at their expense.

Although the board opted to consider any offer, they did not set a date for submissions, Irish said. After residents learned of Swett’s proposed plan last week, a couple of other developers have expressed interest, she said. She suggested to the board that they set a date to accept proposals and give everyone an opportunity.

Swett said if he had known how this would turn out, he would not have done the homework for others, including the expense and time for an inspection and estimate for asbestos removal and renovation costs.

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