Brewer settles water tower land dispute

Posted June 10, 2011, at 8:10 p.m.
Last modified June 13, 2011, at 11:36 p.m.

BREWER, Maine — When the city tore down the water tower on Summit Road four years ago, it put the land on the market and was about to sell it when a family member of the former landowner stepped forward to say it was hers.

City leaders approved a $16,000 settlement on Friday with Brenda Cheney, a successor of Edgewood Development Corp., during a special City Council meeting held to settle the land dispute.

“This is the end of it,” City Solicitor Joel Dearborn told the council.

The city sued Cheney over rights to the Summit Road property, which was given to the city by Cheney’s father in the 1960s for a water tower that was removed four years ago. The matter was appealed by both parties to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court. Oral arguments were under way in the case, which now will be dismissed, Dearborn said.

A deed issued March 29, 1960, from Edgewood Development Corp. to the city’s water department for use of the land for the water tower is what was in dispute.

Now that City Council members have unanimously agreed to settle with Cheney, a final agreement needs to be signed that releases all of her rights to the property, then the check will be issued, Dearborn said. In addition to Cheney, two others, Sharon Brimmer and Rachel Stocker, will share the money, the council order states.

“This has been on the back burner for four years now,” City Councilor Larry Doughty said. “They initially wanted 30 grand for it. I’m glad it’s finally over. It’s long overdue.”

Mayor Joseph Ferris and Councilor Jerry Goss both also voiced their support of the settlement.

“My position from the beginning is that it was city of Brewer property, not the Cheneys’,” Ferris said. “We should be reluctant to give away the city’s money, [but] I think it’s a good settlement.”

The settlement allows both parties to move forward, Goss said.

After the meeting, Councilor Arthur “Archie” Verow said a buyer wanted to purchase the double house lot for $60,000 four years ago.

“I don’t think we’ll get that now,” he said.

The old water tower was removed years ago, but the cement base remains on the parcel.

CORRECTION:

An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Brenda Cheney brought a lawsuit against the city of Brewer. The city sued Cheney over rights to the Summit Road property, which was given to the city by Cheney’s father in the 1960s for a water tower that was removed four years ago.

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