Great Northern Docks leases town space


By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

NAPLES — A longtime local business will lease storage space from the Town of Naples.

The leasing of town-owned land to Great Northern Docks was already approved at the Town Meeting in June. However, residents voted to allow the town to enter into a multi-year lease contract on the property formerly known as the Begin Estate. The owner of Great Northern Docks would prefer a smaller space that is closer to the business’s property line.

So, until Town Meeting 2016, the town manager will work out a lease agreement with Great Northern Docks’ owner Sam Merriam.

“What we would store is either stacks of new product or a couple of storage containers,” Merriam said on Tuesday.

“In the long term, we would move onto our own land once we develop it in the back of the lot. Our storage needs right now aren’t huge. So, the temporary storage on the town’s land is a good fit,” Merriam said.

Paraschak said that most likely the town would waive the cost of leasing the land because Great Northern Docks would pay to have a gravel pad installed.

“Sam is proposing to build a gravel pad. We would lease the space in trade for the gravel work,” Paraschak said.

Legally, the town can lease land or buildings for a period of one year without residents’ approval. Therefore, if parties are interested in contracts that span more time than one year — a majority vote at the Town Meeting is required.

On Nov. 16, the Naples Board of Selectmen voted, 4-0, to give Paraschak the go-ahead to enter into a short-term lease agreement. Selectman Rich Cebra was not present since he was recovering from surgery. Also, as part of the motion, the board requested that Great Northern Dock be responsible for the insurance coverage for the space.

“Originally, the town voted at the town meeting to let us lease the property that the town bought, where the well was contaminated with salt,” Merriam said.

“We thought about cost of building a road to get to it. That’s a lot of money for a three-year lease. Years would fly by, and if the town wanted to develop that land, we would have an investment in the gravel road,” he said.

“We looked at the land behind the fire house and our property. It would make more sense to put gravel down right off our pavement. We wouldn’t have the expense of a long road going across the property. The gravel would remain the town’s property,” Merriam said.

The section of land is toward the back of the lot and between sand shed and the leech field. The vegetation consists of overgrown alders that until now have acted as a buffer.

“We recognize that because we are close neighbors with the fire station, we have a reciprocal relationship,” Merriam said.

“There have been times when the fire department needs a forklift to move something, and we use our forklift to help them,” he said.

Additionally, prior to the Naples Fire Association’s comedy night fundraiser, fire trucks were moved to Great Northern Docks’ parking lot, which provided more parking space at the fire station for people attending the event.

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