Berwick selectmen to try again on lease for old high school

Posted Aug. 30, 2011, at 5:23 a.m.

BERWICK, Maine — Selectmen will host a public meeting Wednesday to vote on whether to enter into a 75-year lease agreement with Bateman Partners LLC.

The meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. The first item on the agenda is a discussion of “real property” with the town’s attorney Alan Shepard. The board will be given the option of entering into an executive session to hear the presentation, according to Town Manager Keith Trefethen; if they vote to do so it will be in accordance with MRSA 405 (6) (C), as noted on the meeting’s agenda.

The second item on the agenda will be a vote by the board on whether to sign the 75-year ground lease for the affordable housing project proposed by the Bateman Partners. The option of whether to hold a public hearing before the vote will again, be up to the board, according to Trefethen.

This public meeting comes in the wake of a special town meeting on Aug. 24 where residents voted down three warrant articles to extend the ground lease from 75 to 99 years, as well as to allow the town to give the deed for the land and surrounding areas to the Bateman Partners to remediate the Old Berwick High School of contaminants found in a phase one environmental testing.

The first warrant article elected a moderator to preside over the meeting. The second warrant article would have temporarily given the title of the Old Berwick High School property and surrounding grounds located on School Street to Bateman, under the subsidiary Sullivan School Associates LP, for up to 180 days.

This conveyance would have allow Bateman to mitigate the contaminants found on the property with help from an environmental loan through southern Maine Regional Planning Commission.

SMRPC requires a piece of property be under the ownership of the developer of that property, rather than the town, in order to receive the grant.

The third warrant article would have extended the life of the lease agreement for the Old Berwick High School and surrounding grounds from 75 years to 99 years between Sullivan School and the town. This extension would have allowed the project to meet requirements set by Maine Housing Authority for projects of this nature.

According to Trefethen, all the lending institutions involved in the project are all still involved in the project for a 75-year lease for affordable housing.

(c)2011 the Foster’s Daily Democrat (Dover, N.H.)

Distributed by MCT Information Services

 

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