In narrow vote, selectmen agree to sell Lakeview Drive property for $65,000

by Mary Grow

By a 3-2 vote, China selectmen have sold the 39-acre lot on Lakeview Drive to China resident Brent Chesley, for $65,000.

Eight bids had been submitted by the selectmen’s Oct. 12 meeting. They ranged from $10,000 to $75,000.

The $75,000 offer was from Nikolette Alexander, of South China, who reportedly planned a residential development. Her bid was conditional on the lot being appraised at that figure.

Now that the previous subdivision permit has expired, realtor Lucas Adams has revised the property’s value downward, from an early estimate of $80,000 or more to $55,000 or more.

Chesley told selectmen he would not hold his offer if they reject it in favor of another that falls through. The board has already had one buyer withdraw, after learning the subdivision was no longer valid.

Asked what he would do with the land, Chesley said he has no plan yet. After the closing, which will be November 19 if feasible, he said he might talk with the People’s Park organization whose members want the property made into a public park.

Irene Belanger, Blane Casey and Janet Preston voted to accept Chesley’s offer. Belanger and Preston favor a park over a subdivision; Casey believed Chesley’s offer was the safe one, given the condition on Alexander’s offer. Chairman Ronald Breton and Wayne Chadwick were opposed.

Board members differed in defining their responsibility to townspeople. The town meeting warrant article authorizing the sale says proceeds will go into a fund to lower the tax rate in the following fiscal year, suggesting an obligation to accept a high bid.

Lindsey Harwath, Chairman of the People’s Park organization, and board member Preston said that residents who had expressed opinions heavily favored making the area into a public park, with minimal development; and selectmen should listen to the people. Also, they said, a visible roadside park would attract people and thus generate income for nearby businesses.


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