Talks continue on sale of Bristol land

BRISTOL — The Bristol selectboard at its July 9 meeting inched closer to selling 8.61 acres of town land, located off Firehouse Drive, to Stoney Hill Properties LLC.
The land is part of a 30-acre parcel Bristol bought from the state of Vermont for $1 per acre in 1999.
In 2015 the town signed a purchase and sale agreement to convey the land to Stoney Hill for an initial price of $25,000 per acre, with an additional $10,000 per acre to be paid upon completion of the conditions set forth in the agreement.
It also specified that closing must take place no later than Aug. 27, 2018.
As the deadline nears, however, some conditions of the agreement remained unmet, putting the sale — and planned developments — in jeopardy.
One condition of the sale required that Woodland Apartments off Lovers Lane connect to the municipal water system and disable its well, which would eliminate the environmental regulations governing that well. An unexpected change in Woodland’s ownership, however, delayed that project, and it is likely that permits from the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation will not be approved until after the Aug. 27 deadline.
At the July 9 selectboard meeting Bristol developer Kevin Harper, a principal of Stoney Hill Properties, asked the selectboard to renegotiate deadlines associated with the wellhead protection and other conditions, so the sale could go forward in the next seven weeks.
Stoney Hill has already spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on engineering, design work and permits in anticipation of the residential and commercial developments the land sale would make possible.
A month ago, on June 5, the Bristol Planning Commission approved permits associated with the developments, on the condition that, among other things, Stoney Hill acquire enough additional acreage to satisfy zoning density requirements. The town’s 8.61-acre parcel would more than satisfy those requirements.
The Bristol selectboard voted unanimously to proceed with the purchase agreement and to renegotiate the conditions, with an eye on closing by Aug. 27.
Though the sale does not require a town vote, Bristol is required to give residents 30 days’ public notice, providing the opportunity to review the purchase and sale agreement and, if desired, to petition the selectboard for a townwide vote on the matter.
Anyone looking for more information about the terms of the sale should contact Town Administrator Valerie Capels.
Reach Christopher Ross at [email protected].

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