WARREN — Warren voters overwhelmingly approved Sept. 22 a proposal for the town to purchase 42 acres of undeveloped land on Patterson Mill Road.

The special town meeting lasted about 15 minutes, held Sept. 22 at the fire station with the doors open and trucks moved to the parking lot. Twenty-two people turned out for the meeting, and there was only one vote in opposition to the purchase.

The town will pay $95,000 for the property owned by Allen Blueberry Freezer Inc. of Ellsworth. The property is across from the intersection of Highland Road.

Town officials said no firm plans are made for the property, but three options were mentioned by members of the Selectboard. Board Chair Jan MacDonald said said expanding cemeteries is one option. The property is located near an existing town cemetery. Another option would be to use some of the property to extract sand and gravel for use by the town public works department. The land could also be used to harvest wood from the forest, she said.

Board member Brent Pratt said the price of $2,250 per acre was a great deal for the town. He said if the town is able to get two to three years worth of sand and gravel, the property would more than pay for itself.  Pratt also noted that half the cemeteries in town are full and the remainder are half full.

The property is only assessed by the town at $16,200, because the land is given a tax break for being farm land. The asking price is based on an appraisal done by Allen Blueberry.

The Selectboard voted at its Aug. 25 meeting to sign an option to purchase the property, contingent on voter approval. The property owner agreed to give the town first refusal on the land until Oct. 1, according to Selectboard minutes.

The $95,000 for the purchase will come from the undesignated fund balance. The town currently has an undesignated fund balance of nearly $2.7 million.

The one resident who voted against the proposal was Richard Boss. Boss said creating a gravel pit would reduce the value of residential properties within two miles of the land. He also was critical that the town did not have specific plans for the land yet were asking residents to spend money for it.

 

The Warren Selectboard at the Sept. 22 special town meeting. Stephen Betts