Potential John Street property purchase decision delayed
Camden — Camden town officials have been mulling the purchase of two lots on John Street with the potential to improve the intersection of John Street, Conway Road and Route 1.
Sept. 3, the board decided to delay any decision regarding the lots — to be purchased as one property — until further information is received.
Select Board Chairman Martin Cates said the town was made aware the properties were up for sale and approached the owner about purchasing the two lots. The properties, 14 and 16 John St., currently are listed by Vision Appraisal on the town website as owned by Mary McConnell. One of the lots has a structure and both have been offered for sale at $105,000 by Rock Maple Realty, according to paperwork provided to selectmen by Town Manager Patricia Finnigan.
Finnigan's memo to the select board states the town has secured an option on the property and has a limited time to perform due diligence.
According to Finnigan, Town attorney Bill Kelly is researching the property titles and traffic engineers from Gorrill & Palmer are conducting traffic analyses, determining rights of way, and developing preliminary design concepts and construction costs to help determine if the property will benefit the town.
" ... As you know, Camden and Rockport received a grant to construct a sidewalk on Route 1 which will run from Quarry Hill (Camden) to Leonard’s (Rockport). Before constructing the sidewalk, it is important to explore improvements to this section of Route 1 ... " the memo notes.
Resident Anita Brosius-Scott questioned if a portion of the property could be sold by the town if it is no longer need or used when redesigning the traffic flow. Finnigan said there are no definite plans created at this point but sale of any remaining property could be an option.
"That's why we engaged traffic engineers," Finnigan said.
Funding for the engineering study is coming from a general engineering fund, she said in response to a question from Brosius-Scott.
"There's no real heavy duty design work [completed]" Selectman John French said.
The board debated the merits of choosing to place the issue in the hands of voters in November or trying to schedule a special town meeting vote. Ultimately, the select board unanimously decided to table the issue until Tuesday, Sept. 17, when more information about the property is expected to be available from Kelly. Finnigan noted Sept. 17 is the date selectmen will approve the final warrant for November elections.
Courier Publications Editor Stephanie Grinnell can be reached at 236-8511 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Stephanie has served as editor of Camden Herald since its return in April 2012.
Previously, she was editor of VillageSoup's Capital Weekly in Augusta and has worked a number of years in the newspaper business from southern Maine to Waldo County.
Outside the office, she enjoys reading, cooking and gardening.
Stephanie lives in Washington with her husband Jeff, four children, a dog named Chewbacca, a rabbit and two chickens.