Greenville residents OK land-building swap

Posted Oct. 29, 2010, at 8:30 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 29, 2011, at 11:37 a.m.

GREENVILLE, Maine — Municipal officials were given the go-ahead at a special town meeting Thursday to swap a town-owned building and land in Moosehead Junction Township for a similar building and land owned by a resident in the Greenville Industrial Park.

The vote, however, came after considerable discussion that focused mostly on the valuation difference between the two properties and what residents said was a lack of details. The town-owned land in the Unorganized Territory is assessed at $261,000 and the property owned by Mike Theriault of Theriault Construction is valued by the town at $160,600. The town pays about $2,700 a year in taxes to the state on its property.

“The idea for the exchange came up during our process of trying to figure out where the transfer station would go,” Greenville Town Manager John Simko told about 40 people at Thursday’s meeting.

Greenville is moving forward with a transfer station because the Department of Environmental Protection has ordered the town to stop using its grandfathered landfill by Dec. 31, 2011.

Simko said the town’s transfer station development committee identified a site in the town’s industrial park at the end of Sheridan Circle next to Theriault’s property as best suited for the transfer station. The committee believes it likely will be permitted by the DEP based on initial discussions with the state agency, although Simko said there is no guarantee.

“We have met several times — I would say three times in Bangor and one on-site with DEP officials — and each time they’ve encouraged us to go to that site because, although it has many challenges because it’s raw land, there are no issues that would come up with abutters to restrict the permit,” Simko said.

The intent all along has been to incorporate the recycling center into the transfer station project, according to Simko. The recycling center now shares building space with the public works garage in Moosehead Junction Township, so that space would become empty. It then would make sense, Simko said, to also move the public works garage onto the abutting property owned by Theriault.

Theriault also sees merit in the proposal because he recently purchased land adjacent to the town’s property in Moosehead Junction Township, according to Simko. Rather than a sale-purchase agreement, both Theriault and town officials favor a swap, he said.

The two properties are not identical, and there are pluses and minuses with both, Simko said. The town’s property consists of 2.10 acres, an 8,650-square-foot main building and an 8,400-square-foot salt-sand pad. Theriault’s property consists of 5.78 acres, a 6,275-square-foot building and a 2,000-square-foot pad. The town would have to expand the pad and make other improvements, he said.

Theriault, who attended the special town meeting, said he had no problem if town officials set a differential value in the swap, but he believes that the town’s valuation on his property was “way low.” He said an assessor told him his building would cost $177,000 if it were constructed today, and that does not include the wood boiler, the radiant heat and any concrete. Theriault also noted that his garage burns less fuel than the town’s building, but he was sympathetic to the concerns.

“I think it would be crazy to make a trade if we all knew here tonight that I was gaining $100,000 in the trade. That’s just not right, that’s not fair,” Theriault said. He suggested that appraisals could be obtained and another town meeting called.

In the end, however, residents left it up to selectmen to complete the negotiations and make the swap.

In other business Thursday, residents authorized selectmen to execute a lease agreement with the Shaw Public Library for the use of property at 8 Pleasant St., adopted an ordinance to define the manner in which the library is governed, and authorized selectmen to apply for a grant to help make library improvements.

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