Bristol officials start negotiations for new firehouse site

BRISTOL — Town officials and representatives of the Bristol Recreation Club met Sept. 18 to begin negotiations for the town’s purchase of club land for a new firehouse.
The meeting was held in executive session as to not disadvantage either party. Town Administrator Therese Kirby said the talks lasted about 90 minutes and were productive.
“It was a great meeting, very positive, and we’re going to move forward with negotiations,” she said.
Kirby added that the town is going to hire an independent appraiser, so parties have an accurate land value to work with. When that is complete, the negotiators will meet again.
Representing the town are Kirby and selectboard members Peeker Heffernan and Michelle Perlee. The recreation club is represented by Ron LaRose, Jen Oxford and Betty Farr.
Kirby said she couldn’t provide a timeline for how long the talks would take, because it is too early in the process. Once the parties reach agreement, the recreation club delegation will have to put the plan up for a vote with all of its members.
Earlier this year, the 10-member Fire Facility Site Selection Committee selected a parcel of land on West Street that straddles the recreation club property and a plot owned by Ed and Susan Shepard.
According the town grand list, the value of the 0.59-acre Shepard property is $124,000. The firehouse would only use 1.49 acres of the total 9.7-acre recreation club plot. The fire committee in June estimated the value of that land to be $96,579, bringing the total value of the land needed for the new firehouse to around $219,500.
An independent appraisal will provide negotiators with a more accurate valuation figure to work with.
Kirby said the town has not yet started negotiations with the Shepards, and said officials will wait until an agreement is secured with the recreation club. Kirby explained that the town wants to strike a deal with the recreation club first, because it is a more complicated process than negotiating with two private landowners.

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