BENTON — The town is set to spend up to $23,000 to buy part of a property on Siding Street where the public roadway travels over the current property owner’s lot.

The Board of Selectmen’s recommendation to buy part of a property owned by Mack Moody received unanimous support from all nine Benton residents, including the three board members, voting Thursday night at a special town meeting.

“It’s not just about correcting this mistake. It’s also about making sure that the road is safe for people that are either walking or driving,” board member Robin Cyr said.

The property in question lies along a curve on Siding Street, and board members said a survey was conducted to assess how the roadway and Moody’s property intersect.

“His deed really included a lot of what was the road on that corner, and so we talked about the dangers and citizens’ concerns that had been raised about that corner, and arrived at the conclusion that perhaps what we should be doing is looking to see if there was another solution,” Cyr said.

The special meeting vote followed a public hearing that evening, in which board members explained two possible options for addressing the situation.

The first option, which was recommended by the board and ultimately adopted, was to buy the property for $10,000 and connect Moody’s adjacent property to public water for $9,500. Along with $3,000 for tree removal, the total purchase and related work is projected to cost $22,500. Cyr said Moody’s current water connection is via a heated shed on the part of the property set to be purchased, and that the shed would be moved to improve the line of site at the curve in the road.

The second and more expensive option not chosen would have involved moving the roadway off Moody’s property, and could have cost upward of $100,000, according to an overview document provided at the town meeting.

The article approved by voters Thursday night, as amended by resident Dwight Lanning, authorizes the town to spend up to S23,000 on the land purchase, water connection and tree removal. The approved measure also stipulated that the money will come from already budgeted funds. Before Lanning’s amendment, the article had no dollar amount or any requirement as to whether the money would come from existing or new funds.

Cyr said the town’s treasurer has identified existing tree removal funding and road maintenance funding for the purchase, and will need to determine an existing funding source for the water connection portion of the project.

Board Chairman Doug Dixon said that Moody has agreed to the terms. Dixon also said that moving the road could potential cause other property issues and necessitate a 90-degree corner with two stop signs.

Cyr said Moody came before the selectmen several months ago after a plow truck had damaged a fence on his property and pulled up a survey pin. Discussion about those issues led to a larger conversation about the propriety and potential solutions, she said.

A 2004 letter between attorneys, which Dixon provided Thursday night, indicates that Moody and the town have had conversations about the Siding Street situation for years.

“For him to give us this option was a good option for the cost to the town, and he’s tried to have this thing done way back,” Dixon said. “And nobody every followed through with it, so here we are.”

Matt Junker — 861-9253

[email protected]

Twitter: @mattjunker

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