August 02, 2020

Bucksport eyes parcel for future business park

BUCKSPORT — A 30-acre parcel off Route 46 may be optioned as a prime spot to locate new businesses and potential employers.

On Tuesday, the Bucksport Finance Committee agreed to recommend that the Town Council enter into a two-year option-to-purchase pact with landowner Harold Gray, with the land to be developed as a business park.

The parcel is on the east side of what is known as the Central Maine Power Co. power line.

At the finance panel meeting, members reviewed a letter Town Manager Roger Raymond could send to Gray in Florida, offering $600 each for 30 acres located between the upper end of Miles Lane and Route 46.

In addition to talking with Gray, town officials contacted several other area property owners before zeroing in on the parcel in question, believing it is better situated and less wet than some of the others.

The economic development panel targeted the area off Route 46 in part because it is away from downtown yet accessible by several major roads.

Raymond arrived at the offer price after town Assessor Bill Mayo provided information on amounts paid recently for similar local parcels. The committee agreed Tuesday with the town manager’s conclusion that Gray’s land is worth more than the $300 an acre some Route 46 property recently drew, but less than the $1,000 he said Champion International Corp. paid per acre for a parcel near its landfill.

Any purchase would depend on some conditions, including the town’s ability to find someone to buy the land from the town and to develop the park.

When new Town Councilor David Keene asked what’s in it for a developer, Raymond mentioned access to a site that by then should already be permitted by appropriate agencies, including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, plus access to sewer and water service the town would bring to the area.

To sweeten the purchase option, the town would offer utilities to Gray, who owns 40 more acres contiguous to the site, without charging him a development fee. All other area landowners wanting access to the services would be charged for a share of development costs.

Phase I of the park’s development would be kept at less than 20 acres, to avoid the costly process of site permitting by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, Raymond said.

He said he believes he can get federal or state funding to provide services to the project site, with no local match required.

How best to provide road access to the parcel will not be decided until a developer has been consulted, Raymond said.

After discussing the business park, the panel went into closed session to discuss various waterfront parcels it is eyeing for developing a marina. Raymond said the closed session was needed to avoid leaks of information that could affect the price landowners might ask in preliminary negotiations.

To discuss related issues, the 10-member marina planning subcommittee will meet at 5 p.m. Monday, Nov. 27, at the town office.

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