Brunswick to begin talks on police station land swap

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BRUNSWICK — The town will begin negotiations to acquire the land proposed for a future police station after the Town Council voted 6-3 for the action on Tuesday night.

Councilors John Perreault, Bennet Pols and Sarah Brayman were opposed.

The negotiations with the Brunswick Development Corp. will swap 28 Federal St., where the town office and police station are currently located, and the corner of Stanwood and Pleasant streets, where the future police station will be built.

The BDC bought the land at Stanwood and Pleasant in June 2011 after Town Council Chairwoman Joanne King asked the quasi-municipal economic development group to do so in order to speed up the site acquisition and reduce the burden for taxpayers.

Town Manager Gary Brown said the town office will be moved to the McLellan building at the corner of Station Road and Union Avenue in 2014. The town acquired the McLellan building after a land swap for Longfellow School, at the corner of Noble and Unions streets, with Bowdoin College in October 2011.

This would leave the BDC to use the 28 Federal St. building for office space if the zoning is changed to allow it at next week’s Planning Board meeting.

That is one of the stipulations required for the swap. The others include:

• The town will be able to use the 28 Federal St. building until it makes a full transition to the McLellan building.

• The town will be responsible for maintenance and utilities at 28 Federal St. until the transition is complete.

• The BDC will have the right to use the 28 Federal St. property as it wishes, subject to zoning regulations.

• And the BDC will be responsible for any capital improvements necessary for 28 Federal St. and can make any other improvements it desires.

Perreault said he believes the agreement is premature.

“There’s nothing wrong with this decision, but I want to hear what the people and the Planning Board have to say,” the councilor said. “Before we endorse this transfer, I want to know where the people stand.”

Pols said Wednesday he opposed starting negotiations because he and other councilors didn’t have a chance to ask more questions about the negotiation process and the state of the 28 Federal St. zone.

“I’m not against the transaction. I just want my questions answered,” Pols said.

One concern Pols said he has is a potential conflict of interest for two the councilors who sit to BDC’s board: Suzan Wilson and Chairwoman Joanne King.

Pols said you would never have the same person represent the buyer and the seller in a real estate transaction.

Wilson and King were not available for comment Wednesday evening.