Cumberland takes 1st step toward Rines Forest addition

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CUMBERLAND — The town will get appraisals for 51.5 acres of undeveloped property to possibly expand Rines Forest.

The town purchased 221 of its 256-acre Rines Forest property from Dale Rines in 2003 for $1.2 million, and would also buy this piece from Rines. Its right of first refusal will expire in August 2019.

Rines “has asked us to see if we are interested in purchasing the property,” Town Manager Bill Shane told the Town Council Monday, before it voted unanimously to have the land appraised.

Once it has chosen an appraiser and determined the parcel’s worth, the town plans to work with the Chebeague & Cumberland Land Trust to negotiate a price, and then in a few months bring a formal purchase agreement to the council. The town could commit up to half the purchase price from land acquisition reserves, an account with $280,000 available.

Rines has allowed the town to finance the purchase over three or four years, said Shane, who expects the appraisals to come back at $6,000 to $10,000 per acre, for a total value of $300,000 to $500,000.

CCLT has offered to fund half the appraisal cost, and also help with fundraising for the purchase, Shane said. An appraisal could cost anywhere between $1,000 and $5,000, he said.

Although the council supported obtaining an appraisal, sentiments were mixed about the actual property purchase.

“I think I kind of pledged before this ever came up … that I wasn’t keen about the town owning any more land,” Councilor George Turner said, noting that the town has other needs, like the many side roads it has to pave.

Turner said he hopes the land trust would fund most of the purchase. “If they can come up with two-thirds of it I wouldn’t have any hesitation,” he said.

About 6 percent of the town’s approximately 14,000 acres is set aside for open space, Shane said earlier this month.

Noting how the town has for years had the option to purchase the land, Councilor Bill Stiles said, “in my examination before I got re-elected, I said this would be the only piece of property that I would be interested in the town buying. It completes this piece of property.”

Councilor Shirley Storey-King suggested that the town could explore selling some land in order to buy a new parcel.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

Cumberland will get appraisals for 51.5 acres of undeveloped property to expand Rines Forest.

A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.