Lithia Springs Land Purchase Moved to Aug. 29 Meeting

By Alex Malm

After having a public hearing during the previous meeting, the Londonderry Town Council once again heard the proposal for the Conservation Commission to purchase the Lithia Springs property.
One of the big questions asked from the previous meeting was in regards to what can be developed on the property.
“In other words how threatened is this particular piece of property by development,” said Town Manager, Mike Malaguti.
Malaguti said the property is a total of 54 acres of land with 14 acres being wet and 17 acres being usable.
It was pointed out the appraised value is over $2 million, which is $500,000 more than the proposed sale price of $1.5 million.
Malaguti said they can go forward with it and it would be a very good deal for the town.
Town Council Chairman, John Farrell, pointed out they currently don’t have the funds in place to purchase the property.
“We don’t have the money,” said Farrell.
He also pointed out his concern that the Town Councilors didn’t have a copy of the appraisal report.
Malaguti said there are various ways they are looking for the money. He said he thinks they have a good case for some of the grants they applied for.
One of the key things in the proposed agreement Malaguti pointed to is they have the ability to drop out of the contract if they aren’t able to get the funds for it by the end of the year.
Conservation Commission member, Mike Speltz, stated they applied for two different grants both worth $500,000 a piece and he thinks their application is “appealing” for what they are looking for.
Speltz explained they ultimately need to get three out of four funding sources in order to have enough for the property.
During public comment, Kristine Perez said “we’re in a recession,” and she doesn’t think they should be spending money on it at this time. She stated instead of purchasing conservation property, the town should be focused on issues like dealing with the brown and blackouts.
Councilor, Joe Green, was in favor of moving forward with the purchase of sale, saying he felt it was a good deal for the town.
Green also stated he would not be at the next Town Council meeting to vote on the purchase, but wanted his fellow Councilors to know how he felt.
Town Councilor, Deb Paul, agreed with Green after verifying with Malaguti that at any time the transaction could be halted if they find any issue with the deal.
Farrell said he was adamant about seeing the details from the appraisal before he makes a decision.
“All I want to do is see the appraisal,” said Farrell.
Farrell added, “It’s like buying a house without a house inspection, I know that there are people who do that, but I wouldn’t.”
The Council ultimately approved continuing the decision until the Aug. 29 meeting.
Malaguti said during the meeting that the Council has until Aug.31 before they need to make a decision.