Falmouth town officials are considering buying 40 to 45 acres of undeveloped land adjacent to the School Department campus for an estimated $895,000.

The Town Council will vote on the acquisition at its meeting at 7 p.m. Monday at Town Hall.

The council has met in executive session several times to negotiate the purchase price and is now ready to move forward with a formal agreement, Town Manager Nathan Poore said.

At a recent council meeting, Poore said the property had been on the market for more than two years and the owner “sees the town as a good partner to get the best return” possible for the land.

The parcel, which is owned by the David G. Merrill Revocable Trust, is at the corner of Field and Woodville roads and could “provide for future expansion needs of the School Department,” Poore said at the Jan. 14 council meeting.

The plan, Poore said, would be for the town to purchase the bulk of the undeveloped property, while a developer would build a subdivision of five or six single-family homes on the Field Road side.

Dawn Emerson, the town’s land use planner, said no formal subdivision application had been submitted to her office, but “there have been conceptual discussions with staff, and I know they’re putting together an application now.”

In a memo to the Town Council, Poore said that “while there are no current identified needs for this property … there is very little available undeveloped land that abuts the Falmouth school campus.”

During the recent meeting, he said buying the property would be more of a long-term, strategic decision, adding that the parcel has more value than just as a possible future expansion site for the schools, especially since it abuts open space owned by the Falmouth Land Trust.

The School Board has not officially weighed in on the property purchase, but Poore said there have been informal discussions and that “school leadership is generally aware and supportive” of the idea.

Poore described the land as sitting to the northwest of the high school and said there is no access to the property either from Field or Woodville roads, which may be one reason it hasn’t attracted a buyer.

In addition, he said the property has several other barriers to development, including steep slopes and wetlands. Poore said of the 40 or so acres the town might buy, about 10 would be available for future school or municipal use.

There was virtually no council discussion at the recent meeting and public comment was not allowed, but Poore said “general conversation” and public input is anticipated at Monday’s session.

Poore said the town would have an appraisal done to ensure that the asking price is fair and that this week’s scheduled vote would not be binding.

Kate Irish Collins can be contacted at 780-9097 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: KIrishCollins=

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