A developer for Foxboro’s former fire station opposite the Common rotary won’t be named until after the May 6 town election now that potential conflicts of interest involving three of five selectmen have left the board without a voting quorum.
Town Manager William Keegan released a statement on Thursday explaining the board of selectmen’s decision to table a bid award on the downtown redevelopment project.
“With three out of the five members of the board of selectmen with potential conflicts the town wants to act out of an abundance of caution so that the project can move forward successfully,” he said. “(Town Counsel) Kate Connolly has opined that the town would be best served if the board could postpone action on this matter until after the May town election. At that point, we will have a quorum of board members with no potential conflict who can act on the project.”
Town Planner Paige Duncan sent an email to the three firms vying for the coveted redevelopment project explaining that the decision to table the bid award was based on an opinion from Connolly.
Although the email did not provide specifics, the three board members are said to be Leah Gibson, Mark Elfman and James DeVellis.
Elfman lives at 25 Main St., a short distance from the former fire station, and DeVellis serves on the board of directors for the Marilyn Rodman Performing Arts Center, a direct abutter.
Gibson, who has recused herself from all discussions related to the project, is the daughter of James and Pamela Gibson, whose firm is one of three bidders for the town-owned property.
While the terms of Elfman and DeVellis both expire this May, DeVellis, a nine-year board veteran, is not seeking re-election. Barring a successful write-in bid, his seat on the board — and presumably the critical third vote to award the fire station bid — will be taken by former police chief Edward O’Leary, who along with Elfman will appear on the May election ballot.
The last-minute setback surfaced at a March 19 meeting of the board of selectmen, during which board members were expected to announce which of three competing proposals would be chosen.
Instead, Chairman Chris Mitchell opened the meeting with a terse statement that the matter had been tabled and would be taken up again at a date to be determined.
Neither selectmen nor town officials present at the session would provide details about the abrupt change in plans, saying only that information had surfaced just before the meeting that needed to be more fully vetted.
Vying with Gibson Corner Realty Trust of Foxboro for the right to purchase and redevelop the former fire station are Douglas A. King Builders Inc. of North Easton and MPZ Development LLC of Milton/Traggorth Companies LLC of Boston.
King Builders bid $405,000 for the combined properties, MPZ Development bid $400,000 and Gibson Corner Realty bid $250,000.
A comparative ranking of the three proposals prepared last month for selectmen by the town Economic Development Committee had named the King proposal as best conforming to the town’s vision for the downtown property.
Highest ranked by EDC members was the King proposal, which would feature a brewpub operated by Shovel Town Brewery of Easton with 19 on-site rental units, followed by the Gibson and MPZ plans, in that order.