Mayor, City Council President trade jabs on sale proposal

Mayor Judith Flanagan-Kennedy and Council President Tim Phelan have very different opinions about what to do with a city owned junkyard and tow lot on Harding Street in the designated development zone behind the Lynnway.

Phelan and Councillor at Large Dan Cahill believe the small lot should be sold to the highest bidder as soon as possible.

The mayor disagrees.

“We are still in a depressed real estate market. There is absolutely no need for us to be selling off this property at this time,” she said in a release issued over the weekend.

I beg your pardon. On the contrary, Phelan seemed to say.

“The city can potentially get out of owning this lot with $150,000 or more to put in the treasury – and then we’d be out of the business of owning a tow lot and junkyard in the midst of what might prove to be one of the city’s major developments in its modern history,” Phelan told the Journal.

Kennedy said selling the lot is premature at best. She said she questioned the timing of the sale.

Phelan expressed frustration that the mayor never expressed any interest in the land until Phelan and Cahill made it clear the council was going to sell it.

“I don’t think an abandoned junkyard owned by the city should be sitting in the middle of the waterfront that the city is trying to develop,” he said.

“I respect the mayor’s opinion. But I wish we had the opportunity to discuss this,” he said.

He said the mayor didn’t act expeditiously with him.

“We would have had that opportunity had she returned my phone calls,” he added.

Phelan said despite calling Flanagan-Kennedy a number of times during the past thre weeks, the mayor had yet to call him back.

This, despite a promise from the mayor’s chief of staff.

“I spoke with Claire Cavanaugh twice last week. She assured me the mayor would call me back. She hasn’t.”

In her release the mayor said Lynn is land poorFlanagan-Kennedy said the land can’t simply be sold, that the transaction is more complex and that the city would have to abandon the property before it could be sold.

Phelan said that if Flanagan-Kennedy vetoes the bill to sell the city owned land, the council could override her decision with eight votes.

Flanagan-Kennedy said selling the land risks its future use.

Phelan repeated his initial belief: “She had no interest in this parcel until the council began to act on it. Even then, she refused to call me back.”

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