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Ferrisburgh land sale deadline extended

FERRISBURGH — Ferrisburgh selectmen and the contracted buyer of town-owned land earlier this month reached an agreement to extend for three months a key purchase contingency of the $375,000 contract.
The original terms of the Aug. 1 deal between the town and Montpelier’s Eastern Development Corp. for a 34.9-acre parcel at the junction of Routes 7 and 22A gave the buyer until Nov. 15 — this past Tuesday — to market its still-undisclosed plans for the property after the sale.
On Nov. 1, selectmen met with Eastern Development Corp. officer and legal representative Frank von Turkovich, who requested another 90 days to complete the marketing contingency.
Selectboard chairwoman Loretta Lawrence said this week that selectmen believe Eastern Development is “still interested” in the property, and also that von Turkovich told them “there is interest” among potential commercial tenants for the buyer’s proposal.
Given that situation, Lawrence said the board agreed to give Eastern Development more time — until Feb. 15, to be exact.
“Right now, it seems to be a good idea to still pursue it,” she said.
The Aug. 1 deal was struck after months of talks. The purchase-and-sale contract is for the full price for which the property was listed in September 2010, and Eastern Development paid a $15,000 deposit to take the land off the market.
If the contingency is not met, the buyer would be entitled to a return of that deposit money.
The contract had two contingencies. The contract also gave Eastern Development has 45 days from Aug. to conduct a feasibility study for its plans for the property. The company has declined to reveal its plans to the town or to the Independent.
Lawrence said when the deal was signed that she was optimistic based on discussions with von Turkovich that the town and neighboring Vergennes would be happy with the company’s plans.
If the contingency is met on Feb. 15, the contract calls for Eastern Development to apply for permits within 30 days. The final sale is contingent on Eastern Development obtaining permits and financing for its project, and on the land passing environmental and engineering muster.
The land boasts an open site with permitted wastewater capacity, level topography, high traffic volume, easy access to rail transportation, and frontage on two of the state’s busiest highways. It is zoned industrial, with retail uses conditionally permitted.
Of the land’s 34.9 acres, 23.3 acres are subject to conservation easements that allow only agricultural uses; some of that land is also wet. On the remaining 9.7 acres, other easements restrict its building envelope to 4.5 acres.
Selectmen hope to use sale proceeds to complete a $150,000 purchase of a home and 2 acres next to the duplicate Grange Hall that now serves as Ferrisburgh town offices and a community center.
Andy Kirkaldy may be reached at [email protected].

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