CHINA: Tracking history of land sale last week


The property in question, from Google Streetview.

Lucas Adams, director of Adams Realty in China, provided additional information to supplement the article on the People’s Park group in the September 23 issue of The Town Line.

Chinese elected officials agreed at their August 30 meeting to sell about 39 acres of city-owned land on the east side of Lakeview Drive to Austin “Gerry” and Lynda Ogden. The Ogdens offered $ 80,000 and, after negotiations with General Manager Rebecca Hapgood, accepted $ 83,000.

The only other offer came from People’s Park, a group led by Lindsey Harwath hoping to acquire the land for a public park. Their offer was $ 10,000.

Adams confirmed Harwath’s report that she and the Ogdens met at her office on September 15 and the Ogdens offered to sell the back (east) portion of the property to the People’s Park group for $ 110,000.

The Ogdens also offered to build a road and electrical connection to the eastern area, at an estimated cost of $ 30,000, and to proceed at their own expense if the cost estimate turned out to be low, Adams said.

And, he said, the Ogdens were prepared to wait until next spring for the payment, to give the People’s Park group time to collect donations.

His conclusion is that with these conditions, the price of $ 110,000 is “a very fair offer”.

The Ogden’s original plan was to retain two of the designated lots in the old Candlewood subdivision on the north side of the proposed but unbuilt access road. They then decided to keep a third batch, Adams said.

They offered the People’s Park group two lots on the south side of the access road and all of the property east of the old Wiscasset, Waterville and Farmington railway line which is now a recreational trail.

Adams said he had not “discouraged” anyone else from purchasing the town’s land. He had spoken with a person who decided not to buy, he said. On August 30, he told Chinese officials that he had only received the two offers; he assumed interest was low because much of the plot is wet.

Adams said Ogden has not been associated with Adams Realty since the 1980s.

“Gerry is an investor,” who owns properties throughout the state of Maine, Adams said.

History of the Candlewood Camps property

The roughly 39 acres that the city of China has just sold were part of the Candlewood Camps property owned for years by Lucas Adams’ grandparents, Albert and Muriel Adams.

After the Adams’ retirement, Massachusetts Properties acquired and subdivided the land. At the September 8, 2015 planning board meeting, then code officer Paul Mitnik indicated that he believed the subdivision permit had expired, until he found a modification approved in June 2015 which extends its useful life.

China’s Subdivision Ordinance states that a subdivision plan approved by the planning board becomes “null and void” if “substantial construction” has not started within five years. When a plan expires, the planning council must register a notice in the register of acts of the State,

When Wachusett Properties failed to sell subdivision lots, they offered the land to the city of China. Voters accepted the gift at the ballot box on November 8, 2016. That fall, city officials considered using the property for a new China Village fire station or keeping it for later resale.

In March 2017, voters amended China’s Tax Increase Finance (TIF) program to add the Lakeview Drive land to areas eligible for TIF-funded development projects.

In November 2018, they approved $ 5,000 from the TIF account for “concept drawings” for an emergency services building and community center on the ground. The emergency services section was to include a new China Village fire station; space for a police station and a vehicle; and maybe room for one of the Delta Ambulance vehicles (since China Rescue cannot provide transportation).

In June 2019, however, voters refused to take $ 25,000 from the balance of unspent funds (also known as surplus) to develop engineering plans and cost estimates for the building. The vote, as recorded in the June 13, 2019 issue of The Town Line, was not even close: 72 “yes” votes to 332 “no” votes.

Selectmen therefore asked during the municipal assembly of June 8, 2021 for authorization to sell the land, the proceeds “to be paid into an earmarked fund to reduce the rate of millet during the financial year following the sale”. Voters in the municipal assembly approved.

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