Northport voters to decide on Little River parcel purchase

By Stephanie Grinnell | Apr 19, 2018
Source: Town of Northport tax map, annotated by The Republican Journal Lot 6, shown in red, along the Little River, is currently owned by Belfast Water District.

Northport — There is a special town meeting in Northport on Wednesday, April 25, to consider the town’s right of first refusal to purchase a piece of land along Little River.

The 16-acre parcel is currently owned by Belfast Water District and is an unbuildable lot, according to town officials. Across the river in Belfast, another parcel owned by the Water District is expected to be purchased by Nordic Aquafarms for a land-based salmon farm.

Town officials on April 18 noted state law requires the Water District to offer the town first refusal to purchase the land, identified on tax map U1, Lot 6. Belfast officials have indicated if the city purchases the Northport parcel, it will be placed in conservation. Northport selectmen said that would be the case for the town as well but said the decision on purchasing the property should be left to voters, not just selectmen.

Town Administrator Barbara Ashey said the only value for the land available is the town’s assessment, which is included in the warrant for the meeting.

“It’s been assessed at $35,000,” she said. “That’s the only figure we have so it’s on the ballot. The Water District can sell it for less than the value if it’s in conservation.

“The end result is probably the same, but it comes down to if (the town) wants to purchase it.”

The meeting at Edna Drinkwater School will open with an information session at 6:30 p.m., following by the special meeting during which residents will first vote on the right of first refusal. If residents agree to pursue the purchase, a second article on the warrant authorizes the town to purchase the property for an amount not to exceed $35,000 from the town’s Undesignated Fund Balance. Residents must be registered voters.

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