Boats slips prove popular in tax sale



NORWALK — Half of the boat slips at Oyster Bend Marina, an almost perennial inclusion in Norwalk’s tax sales, were auctioned off Monday for $3,000 each.

That marks a turnaround from the city’s past two tax sales where only nine of the 52 slips were sold amid concerns about their relationship to Oyster Bend Marina Condominiums, which has documented environmental contamination.

Norwalk Tax Collector Lisa Biagiarelli, while reading the sale rules, cautioned bidders about “potential environmental cleanup costs” but she added that one need not own a condominium at the complex to bid on a boat slip.

“These marina slip units were formerly known as restricted marina slips of a condominium,” Biagiarelli said. “These units can be deeded over through tax sale and will no longer be subject to the restraints on alienation that characterized them in prior tax sales. You do not have to be an owner of a residential unit in the same condominium unit to bid on these boat slips any longer.”

“However, counsel for the association has claimed that these units carry no parking rights,” Biagiarelli added.

Bidding for the boat slips was held at the end of Norwalk’s 2016 tax sale, which drew nearly 100 people to Norwalk Concert Hall on Monday afternoon. When the sale ended, 27 of the 52 boats slips owned by East Greyrock or Greyrock at Oysterbend at 10 Platt St. were sold. One slip was sold to Kevin Kovtun of Norwalk, 12 slips were sold to Dennis Brandt Nye of Norwalk, and 14 slips were sold to Marine Unit Norwalk, LLC, according to Biagiarelli’s office.

East Greyrock and Greyrock at Oysterbend have six months to square up with Biagiarelli’s office to redeem the slips.

Biagiarelli said the 27 boat slips were sold for $3,000 each — the amount of the bid deposit. Her office plans to offer the remaining 25 slips at a later date for the same amount.

“Within three days, the tax collector will announce the time and place when the adjourned sale of those marina slip units will be reconvened and they will again be offered for sale,” Biagiarelli wrote in a statement Tuesday announcing the tax sale preliminary results. “Potential bidders are advised to watch the city of Norwalk website for details on the adjourned sale.”

Jerry Effren, principal with the Greyrock Cos., which owns Oyster Bend Marina Condominiums, attended Monday’s tax sale. He could not be reached for comment Tuesday afternoon.

The property at which the marina and condominiums are located was home in the late 1960s to Norwalk Barrel Co., which cleaned and recycled industrial drums containing hazardous materials. It has been the subject of a cleanup plan being overseen by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

The city holds the tax sales to get delinquent taxpayers to pay up beforehand rather than risk their properties being auctioned. Biagiarelli’s office collected $3.6 million in advance of Monday’s auction and another $648,988 at the auction itself.

In addition to the boat slips, an additional 16 properties went to the auction block. Of those, the city took three, including Dog Island, for lack of bidders.

The tax sale results will be finalized once the city receives final payment on all bids. The high bidders have until Friday at 3 p.m. to finalize those payments or forfeit their deposits.

Monday’s sale did not transfer ownership of the tax sale properties. The current owners have six months to redeem their properties by paying delinquent taxes and interest fees.

The Improved Benevolent Protective Order of Elks redeemed its property at 92 Lexington Ave. by paying the Tax Collector’s Office on Tuesday morning.

“This morning, representatives for the property owner came to the tax collector’s office and paid to the City the amount of the minimum bid, and tendered to the city a check for $75, payable to the bidder, representing 1.5% interest on the $5,000 bid deposit that was given at the tax sale toward this property,” Biagiarelli said in an email Tuesday. “They were given a certificate of satisfaction memorializing the transaction.”

She said the payment effectively removed the 92 Lexington Avenue property from the tax sale “as the taxes due are now paid.”

Biagiarelli said representatives of the Elks organization exchanged pleasantries and had a good conversation with herself and with Delinquent Tax Collector Cynthia Haith.

Representatives of the Elks organization attempted to make a payment as the tax sale got underway Monday afternoon. The city rejected the payment, saying the Tax Collector’s Office had closed at 2 p.m. to prepare for the tax sale.

Kevin Johnson, New England State/Eastern Canada president of the Elks organization, said Tuesday that the group paid the bill for 92 Lexington Ave. on Tuesday morning. He added that the payment was $6,000 more than the amount they were quoted Monday.

Johnson said the Elks organization stood ready with a $27,000 check Monday afternoon, but the city required a payment of $33,000 on Tuesday morning.

“The money should have been accepted yesterday because the entire staff that works at the Tax Collector’s office was still working,” Johnson said. “They just moved from one part of the building to another. They were collecting money, they had their computers there to take it.”

According to Biagiarelli’s office, the delinquent tax bill for the property at 92 Lexington Ave. was $33,747.

The property at 94 Lexington Ave., which is also owned by the Elks organization, was auctioned for $165,000. Its delinquent tax bill totaled $44,874, according to Biagiarelli’s office.

Johnson said the Elks group plans to redeem that property, also.

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