To the trusted Thomaston leadership

By Cindy Lang | Sep 04, 2020

Please postpone and/or table the vote on selling property at The Green.

The taxpayers and voters of Thomaston deserve to be fully informed. Please. With all due respect for all of the hours and work and points of view, we need to be included and have the time to fully understand the permanent consequences as well as all of the unknowns.

I am guessing that all of these issues, questions and concerns, which I have written in this email and previous emails, have been recently flushed out and investigate by the Economic Development Committee, so that answering all is readily available?

Possibly, some absentee ballots may have already submitted but certainly, that could be resolved. It is COVID-19. There may be no statues nor ordinances or case law to turn to. The voting population is simply not informed. There is no time to be informed. There is no method to be fully informed. This is complicated. This is a complex issue.

Our parents, students, teachers and RSU 13 staff are stressed and freaked out at the prospect of returning to in-person school. People are stressed about how to pay their rent and their mortgages. Who can concentrate? It is hard enough to go to the grocery store. We have the most crucial Presidential election of the century pressing all of our nerves.

Please, for goodness sake, table/postpone the vote on The Green.

The questions below are neither exhaustive nor in any particular order. The one informational meeting last week did not offer the opportunity for questions to be answered. Due to the lack of time as well as the pandemic, I cannot gather a group for discussion. Not everyone has access to Zoom. (Just as an example are Planning and Appeals Board meetings available on Zoom?)

Will you please respond to these questions, hopefully, by tomorrow? Thank you.

The vote is only two weeks away. There is a pandemic. Issues concerning The Green are from over a decade ago...so much has changed.

Thomaston government, Thomaston itself and it's taxpayers and it's voting population is not the same as it was 12 to 14 years ago.

Would all of the previous 12 months of the Economic and Development Committee meeting minutes be made public to allow the taxpayers and the resident voters to see or learn the details reviewed and discussed including all Thomaston owned properties?

Is it fair to assume the Economic and Development Committee recently, within the last nine months, exhaustively examined and compared all town-owned real property in order to come to the current position? Possibly excluding the Lura Libby building itself?

Excluding the Lura Libby building itself, but not the surrounding land, how much could each of the town-owned properties sell for? What are the property tax projections on each parcel? What are the current and projected maintenance, administrative costs and capital expenses/liabilities on each parcel? What is the humane community benefit currently/future for each parcel?

1. What is the current legal authority and legal mandate that any of the property located at The Green must be sold and "developed" into buildings and parking and accompanying infrastructure?

2. Is there a legal mandate to explain why this must happen now?

3. Where in the budget are the allocations for additional EMS services, which will most likely be needed for 48 low-income seniors?

4. Where in the budget is the money for an additional police person?

5. Where in the budget is the money for another ambulance?

6. How many of the total current Thomaston eligible voters voted to develop The Green over a decade ago?

7. What are the choices on real estate owned by the town with forensic economic and human data to actually reduce current property taxes for "everyone?"

8. The current professional real estate appraisal for the Watts Block is approximately $425,000. Why not suggest selling Watts Block? Why offer to sell The Academy? for what appears to be four times the amount of selling lots at The Green.

9. Of all the real property owned by Thomaston, excluding Lura Libby, which are the top four projected sales amounts/current appraisals? Projected property tax after each property sold?

10. Are all Thomaston property owners taxed at the exact same rate/calculations?

11. How many Thomaston property owners are taxed at a lower rate than other owners? Why?

12. How many Thomaston property owners do not pay any property tax?

13. How many Thomaston properties are owned by non-residents who are not allowed to vote on issues concerning their property taxes?

14. How many Thomaston residents are eligible to vote on local issues?

15. Out of all of the local eligible voters, how many of those are directly responsible to pay property taxes?

16. Have there been plans made for The Green to be developed as a protected community resource? There are many lists of possibilities and data/research of nationwide examples on the community value in open space/parks.

17. What are the projections for the future market value of the real estate in Thomaston if The Green is developed? (Thomaston is considered by many to be a "highway town").

18. What are all of the properties which Thomaston owns in whole or part?

19. What is the legal guarantee that any "developer" will not at some point in the future apply for property tax rebates and reductions?

20. What is the legal guarantee that any "low-income housing developer" will only serve current Thomaston residents?

21. What is the legal guarantee that any housing developer will never change any or part of the use of the development?

22. Is it true that whoever would purchase lots on The Green automatically has their value increased due to water views?

23. Is it true that whoever would purchase lots on The Green automatically has their value increased due to the contiguous protected open space?

24. What other developers, besides Avesta, applied to the town to purchase land at The Green?

25. How is it that only Avesta came to know about this lucrative potential for a developer?

26. Has Avesta been offered Watts Block? The Academy? Some other land?

27. Is developing The Green without fleshing out and comparing the details of town-owned properties akin to the illegalities know as "spot zoning?"

Yes, housing is needed. There is a housing crisis across this entire country.

What is the current data on the housing type needed by current Thomaston residents?

The Green is the only public, open space directly on Route One between at least Portland and Belfast, and I believe all the way to Ellsworth. It is worth repeating that The Green, a waterfront property with views and is a historical property, is the only public open space on Route One.

Why haven't there been any detailed plans presented to the voters to enhance The  Green as an open space?

Please.... give us the opportunity to learn and to be fully informed. Please allow us to fully participate in these irreversible and unknown issues. Please, it is not easy trying to be a concerned citizen and be involved in Thomaston. "Everyone" is stressed and overloaded with personal issues and community issues and countrywide issues. Please give us the opportunity to have protected spaces open and available to all.

It could be wonderful for Thomaston to actually become a destination. It would be wonderful for the millions of tourists who travel Route One to stop and enjoy this beautiful town and the River. Thomaston is in a unique position with all of its potentials.

Isn't Thomaston one of the few towns in Maine that has river frontage of both salt, brackish and fresh water? So many ideas and opportunities on all, which is currently just there.

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