Ferrisburgh names group to look into possible land deal

FERRISBURGH — The Ferrisburgh selectboard last week appointed a committee to talk to landowner Clark Hinsdale III about the possible purchase of a 2.2-acre lot he owns behind Ferrisburgh’s town office building.
Hinsdale, a Charlotte resident who told the board earlier this month he plans to move to Ferrisburgh, where his family has roots, has offered the land to the town for $40,000. The parcel also abuts Ferrisburgh Central School and United Methodist Church property.
Hinsdale also told the board on May 6 he would lower the price for the land, which is part of a larger tract of smaller parcels that he owns, if the town would put a plaque on it honoring his family. But he declined to be specific about price at that meeting, at which point the selectboard agreed to continue talks but did not take any specific action.
On this past Tuesday, board members did act, appointing residents Carl Cole and Bob McNary and Selectmen Jim Warden and Steve Gutowski to a committee to speak to Hinsdale about the potential deal.
All four have spoken favorably about the town buying the land, citing the favorable price, parking and traffic flow benefits, and unforeseen town needs that could crop up in the short or long term.
Board chairwoman Loretta Lawrence said she expected one or two more residents would join the committee, which will be charged with creating a framework of a deal. Cole, a real estate broker as well as town lister, will serve as its chairman.
“They will come to the table and see what Clark has to offer and bring it back to the board,” Lawrence said. “They’ll get the information and bring it back to us.”
Lawrence said at this point selectboard members support potential purchase but will not rush into anything. And she noted that no action would be taken without a public meeting, something that was in the motion the board made on May 6.
“We have plenty of time,” Lawrence said. “The mission is to move forward, and we still want to have a meeting with the public at some point.”
Hinsdale contacted the FCS board and the selectboard about a year ago with a higher price tag. After meetings between the two town boards, officials decided if any deal was ever struck it would best be between Hinsdale and the town, not Hinsdale and the school district.
Hinsdale said earlier this month he would be patient in the process, and that he believed it would be “a great idea” for the town to own the parcel, which he said is approved as a building lot.
The parcel is part of a 34-acre tract Ferrisburgh once almost purchased from Clark Hinsdale Jr. in 2007. Residents initially voted in favor of paying $750,000 for the entire tract, but then rejected the deal in a close revote.
The Hinsdales then sold the land to a third party, and before the town rebuilt the Grange Hall as its new town offices some residents suggested instead buying some of the land and building new. The Hinsdales eventually reacquired much of the parcel.
Andy Kirkaldy may be reached at [email protected].

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