News Feature

Blue Hill
Originally published in The Weekly Packet, August 31, 2017
Parker Lane property nets $425,000 at public auction


Courtney Benham closes in on the final bid at an August 23 public auction for 39 Parker Lane, off Parker Point Road. The property was acquired by Blue Hill for nonpayment of property taxes.

Photo by Anne Berleant Order prints of selected PBP photos.

by Anne Berleant

The first-ever public auction of tax-acquired property in local memory netted nearly three times the assessed value and much more than Blue Hill Selectmen expected.

“It more than met our expectation,” Selectman Jim Schatz said after auctioneer Richard Avery spoke the closing word, “Sold!”

Courtney Benham, an abutter to the property located at 39 Parker Lane, was the final, winning bidder at the August 23 auction at town hall. He will pay $425,000 for the 1.6 acre property.

“It’s a big deal for them,” Acadia Realty agent Samantha Pickering said. Pickering represented Benham although Benham raised the paddle himself. More than one of the seven registered bidders were real estate agents, cell phones pressed to ear while they raised and lowered their bid paddles.

It didn’t hurt that the property was on a private lane off Parker Point Road.

“This is an unusual situation,” Schatz said. “I don’t know if it proves a point,” but he said the town will try it again in the future. Avery had suggested selectmen use public auction to sell the Parker Lane property, following up on a town meeting discussion.

Benham, a part-time resident who owns two California vineyards and wineries Martin Ray, Courtney Benham and Angeline, appeared determined to acquire the property, bidding early before holding back to re-enter at the final stretch.

“We’ve been looking at [the property] for years and years,” Benham said after signing the contract and writing the $10,000 required deposit.

The house is in a high state of disrepair, and Benham said he plans to tear it down and has no plans to build.

The $425,000 will be deposited into the town’s land account, Schatz said, which held $338,058 at the town’s last audit in December 2015. The account is used to purchase property selectmen think may be beneficial to the town.