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Ferrisburgh voters back real estate deal

FERRISBURGH — Ferrisburgh residents on Tuesday backed by a 733-470 margin, or 61-39 percent, the $150,000 purchase of a home and 2 acres next to and south of the town’s Route 7 office building and community meeting center.
Selectmen proposed the purchase, which they said will provide for the future needs of the town office building, including parking, better and safer access from the highway, and other needs now unforeseen.
The article approved by voters calls for financing the deal with a 10-year bank note that officials estimate will cost about $900 a month.
The owners and occupants of the property, Donald and Patience Sisters, have agreed both to the sale terms and a long-term lease with the town to rent the home. Rent for the first five years will be $500 a month.
Long before then, selectmen hope to have sold 35 acres of town-owned land at the junction of Routes 7 and 22A, the proceeds of which will be used to pay off the note for the Sisters property.
Selectmen recently put that parcel on the market, with an asking price of $375,000. They do not expect a quick sale, but are hopeful a deal can be struck within the next year or two.
Selectboard chairwoman Loretta Lawrence said there have been no nibbles yet given the time of year and uncertain market conditions, but selectmen are confident a purchaser will be found at some point.
“We’re not (discouraged) … We’re still certainly optimistic it will sell,” she said.
Until that 35-acre parcel sells, town officials calculated the carrying costs of the Sisters property will translate in taxes to an extra dollar a year per $100,000 of assessed value for a homeowner. For example, the owners of a $300,000 home will see their annual taxes increase by $3 to pay for the Sisters purchase.
Lawrence said now that voters have approved the deal with the Sisterses, selectmen will start to talk about a closing date at their next meeting, on Nov. 16.
At that point, Lawrence said they might also start talking about whether to add to the town office building’s limited parking sooner rather than later.
“We’re not rushing into anything,” she said. “Yes, I think that would be possible, with regards to hoping to improve the parking.”
Regardless of how and when the land is improved, Lawrence said selectmen are glad residents agreed with them that the chance to pick up the potential asset was too good to pass up.
“We’re very happy and pleased with the support of the community,” she said.
Also on Tuesday, Ferrisburgh residents supported changes to the town’s zoning laws, 748-378, or 68-32 percent. The changes were almost all of a technical nature and were required by changes in state laws in recent years.
Andy Kirkaldy may be reached at [email protected]

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