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School district advances Addison land swap

ADDISON — A long-planned exchange of small parcels of town- and school-owned land near Addison Central School and the now-vacant, 150-year-old former Addison Town Hall can move forward after the Addison Northwest School District board on Jan. 17 signed off on deeds.
The town still needs to secure land and build a septic system for the old town hall before the land swap can be completed.
Each parcel is a third of an acre. ANWSD will receive land close to the school that will benefit the elementary school, while the town will receive land close to its former town hall that could benefit it if the building is, as town officials hope, eventually renovated into a community center and new town clerk’s office. Among other things, the land will create a lot for a new town hall that would conform to zoning.
As part of the agreement originally reached by the Addison selectboard and the Addison Central School board, the town has also pledged to build a bus pad on the current school-owned property if it develops the land it receives in the deal. School buses currently use a bus pad on the land ANWSD will trade to the town, and the new pad would replace the old pad if necessary.
The deal when made final could help along a hoped-for return of ownership of the former town hall to Addison. The former town’s hall’s ownership reverted to the Addison Community Baptist Church next door to it on Route 22A when the town long ago stopped using the building, which lacks plumbing and septic, as a town hall.
The deal hinges on development of a shared septic system further to the west of the school and the town clerk’s office. That in-ground system would serve the existing town office building, the town’s fire station on the opposite side of Route 17, eventually the town hall building, and the church. In 2010 that system carried a roughly $500,000 price tag.
Church leaders agreed to deed the former town hall back to the town in exchange for a solution to its own septic issues, and town and church leaders alike have been discussing the concept and working on an arrangement for about a decade.
Town officials late last year were working out details of a deal with the owners of the Gosliga Farm for an easement to install the septic system on their property. Addison Town Hall Committee Chairman John Spencer said, however, that he didn’t expect that deal to close until 2019, and only then after some sort of voter feedback, either as a separate Town Meeting Day article or a budgeted line item.
Addison officials hope the former town hall, after renovation, can eventually serve that purpose again while also hosting the clerk’s office. The existing office is cramped and running out of vault space. They also have said the land exchange would create an adequate lot for town hall and could provide parking.
The deal also makes sense from the ANWSD point of view because the parcel of land it will gain is closer to the school, and last week ANWSD Board Chairwoman Sue Rakowski described the deal as “sensible.”
Andy Kirkaldy may be reached at [email protected].

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