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Despite objection, Brunswick council OKs sale of Thomas Point Road property

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Despite objection, Brunswick council OKs sale of Thomas Point Road property

BRUNSWICK — The Town Council on Monday voted 8-1 to sell a 2-acre parcel on Thomas Point Road to Brinks Allied Holdings of Topsham.

The property is one of two the town has been trying to sell since last year. The other, the former Times Record building on Industry Road, is still for sale. 

Brinks Allied Holdings is headed by Topsham developer Jim Howard, who also owns Priority Group, which owns property on Pleasant Street and in the Brunswick Industrial Park. 

The Thomas Point Road parcel abuts Wal-Mart and is part of the Cooks Corner Commercial zone. 

The council's decision followed an executive session before the meeting. Councilor Karen Klatt opposed the decision, questioning the legality of the executive session and an agreement she described as a "done deal" behind closed doors. Klatt said the town didn't adequately advertise the property.

Town Manager Gary Brown said the town featured the property on its Web site and advertised in a local newspaper. He added that the property attracted no interest until two weeks ago despite having been on the market for about a year. 

Brown also said that Brinks Allied Holdings nearly doubled its initial offer – from about $76,000 to $151,000 – after the town conducted an appraisal. 

Nonetheless, Klatt opposed the deal. 

"I'm not opposed to selling town property," she said. "... I'm opposed to the process that was used."

Klatt said the town should see if another buyer is interested. Brown said doing so would be "disingenuous" of the council.

Klatt's objection did not draw support from other councilors. Vice Chairman Benet Pols said the council voted unanimously a year ago to begin marketing the property. He added that the property had been vacant for a decade.

"We've been waiting 10 years," he said. "I can't imagine waiting longer to see (if there's another buyer)."

Councilor Debbie Atwood said there was nothing amiss in the agreement.

"People who know me know I've been known to subscribe to a conspiracy theory or two," Atwood said. "I can't find one here."

The council also authorized Station Avenue as a town way. Station Avenue is part of the $23.5 million Maine Street Station project. The town was responsible for infrastructure in the development, and  recently completed the new street and parking striping. Some of the parking is reverse diagonal, requiring motorists to pull ahead of a parking space before backing in.

The parking method is used in other parts of the country, but is new to Brunswick. Proponents say that while there's an adjustment period for motorists, reverse diagonal parking is ultimately safer than forward diagonal parking like that on Maine Street. The latter, they say, is more dangerous because motorists must back out, into traffic. 

The Station Avenue reverse-diagonal parking is expected to go into effect next week.

Steve Mistler can be reached at 373-9060 ext. 123 or smistler@theforecaster.net