Casco to retain entire 11-acre parcel


By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

CASCO — There are dozens of ideas of ways to use the 11-acre parcel that will be purchased by the Town of Casco sometime this fall.

Those land uses have not yet been nailed down, except one.

No portion of the land will be listed on the real estate market

The Town of Casco will retain the entire 11-acre parcel, eliminating any proposal to sell off the portion of land with dwellings on it.

On Aug. 9, the Casco Board of Selectmen voted, 4-0, that the town would not put up for sale any portion of the parcel. Selectman Mary Fernandes was absent from the meeting.

According to the sale agreement, the Town of Casco will purchase the land later this fall, according to Casco Town Manager Dave Morton.

The current landowner Lucy Jackson is relying on the income from the sale since construction has begun on her new home on another piece of property, Morton said.

“The timing isn’t being friendly for us. In talking with Ms. Jackson, she is already starting construction on her new site. She needs those resources (money from land sale) for her new housing project,” Morton said.

In fact, Morton has been working on the Bond Anticipation Note (BAN) for the land purchase with TD Bank. After the board’s vote last week, Morton was able to present TD Bank employees with a firm decision on the intention not to sell any part of the land once the town purchases it.

“I can call TD Bank and make everything tax exempt,” he said.

The board discussed the proposed land purchase, which was approved at 2016 Town Meeting, after hearing a presentation on issuing bonds.

In the future, the town will take out a bond to pay for infrastructure improvements such as road improvements and the replacement of the Pleasant Lake-Parker Pond Dam and also a septic system in Casco Village.

The cost for the 11-acre parcel purchase alone is $400,000. At Town Meeting, residents favored using about $100,000 from the Land Acquisition Fund to offset the cost.

One thing discussed by the bonding agent was taxable and tax-exempt bonds.

The Internal Revenue Service would tax the bond used for the land purchase if the Town of Casco receives revenue through the sale of a portion of the land.

The board’s discussion did not necessarily hinge on whether or not the bond would be taxed.

“The nontaxable and taxable bonds shouldn’t be a factor,” Morton said.

As the community members have talked about the land purchase, it was mentioned the residential area where homes already exist could be sold.

The idea was something that someone mentioned, Morton said.

The committee charged with looking into potential uses for the land has yet to meet.

Some board members expressed a desire to keep the entire parcel for whatever future need might be presented.

“It would be worthwhile to hang on to all the property, and not have the option to sell it down the road,” Selectman Calvin Nutting said. “I would rather keep the property.”

The motion on the floor was “to retain 100 percent of property.”

Chairman Holly Hancock seconded the motion, saying “The land has more value to the town.”

Selectman Thomas Peaslee asked about the tenants who rented from the current landowner.

“The tenants will pay rent and maintain properties,” Morton said, adding that the town will hire a property management company.

Peaslee paused to form his opinion, saying “It just came up tonight.”

Hancock repeated herself, “The land has more value to town.”

“That was original intent,” Peaslee said.

Nutting agreed.

“I don’t think there is going to be enough gain by selling it,” he said.

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