Special Town Meeting, June 23rd, 7pm

On May 14th, 2014, the Cavendish Select Board issued a warning as follows:

The legal voters of the Town of Cavendish, in the County of Windsor, are hereby notified and warned to meet at the Cavendish Town Elementary School in Proctorsville, Vermont at seven (7:00) o’clock on Monday, the twenty third (23rd) day of June, 2014 to transact the following business:

Article 1: To see if the voters will approve of the purchase of Cavendish Parcel #1Veo-196, a 0.33 acre village lot located at 601 Main Street, Proctorsville. This property abuts the Cavendish Town Elementary School lot to the east and is currently vacant. The purchase price is $24,900. The purpose of this procurement is to secure the property for good public uses including, but not limited to, use by the school.

On June 17, the Select and CTES boards met to discuss the upcoming Town Meeting.

Due to a fire in January, the property adjacent to the school, 601 Main Street, is available for sale. Because of the 16% charge that is added to anything the school would do, the Boards discussed at a previous meeting that it would be better if the Town purchased the now vacant lot and turn it over to the school for its use. To that end, the town has entered into a contract with the property owners to purchase the lot (a third of an acre) for $24,900 contingent on the approval of the Cavendish voters.

In the 1950’s, when the current school building was constructed, the 601 Main Street site was not for sale but there was an expressed interest by the school in purchasing if it were to become available. In 2004, the house and lot became available, but the asking price was high, as would be the cost of retrofitting the house for school use, and so the school passed on it. The January fire and the subsequent removal of the house, has proved another opportunity for purchase at a considerably lower cost. 

According to Rich Svec, town manager, there are several reasons why the town would wish to purchase this property:

  • It’s an affordable price and small village lots are few and far between. By owning it, the town controls what is built there, thereby keeping the integrity of the village intact. If the property were to be sold, the town could put a deed restriction on the property so that construction must be compatible with the neighborhood. Given the changing nature of the real estate market, it’s hard to predict what will happen, but there is the potential that the town could make money off its sale in future years.
  • During the day when school is in session, the Cavendish Library does not meet the American Disability Act (ADA) standards for accessibility. Patrons who need handicap parking are forced to park on the street and walk across the playground-“walking the gauntlet” as some refer to it- to enter the building. Being able to reconfigure the playground space and parking, would allow the library to be ADA compliant.

There was agreement among the board members that as many of the trees on the property should be kept. Selectmen George Timko pointed out that an ash tree on the corner of the lot was leaning towards the school building and suggested it be removed before it falls and causes damage to the school building.

When it came to discussing how the school would use the additional space, it was apparent that planning with a landscape architect is needed. There are issues with parking and playground space. The new lot would provide additional opportunities, but exactly what would be the best configuration has yet to be determined.  

It will be up to the voters to decide whether the town should purchase the building. The Town Meeting will take place on June 23, Monday, 7 pm in the CTES multi purpose room. If you wish to vote on this issue, you must be present at the meeting as there is no absentee balloting.