WINCHESTER - After not being able to come to an agreement with the owner of 123 Wildwood Street concerning a piece of land, the Select Board voted unanimously to approve a land taking. The owner of the land will receive $2,900.

Town Counsel Mina Makarious informed the board the town had the land appraised for $2,900 and made the offer to the owner. The owner then countered by proposing a land swap, but the piece of land he or she wanted was conservation land. The owner then came back with a second offer whereby he or she would receive a $1,500/year tax abatement.

“That wasn’t in the range of the assessment,” Makarious said.

Select Board member Michael Bettencourt added how it’s “insane” to want a $1,500 abatement. He also felt the town has reached its tipping point with these small takings which he noted are intended to improve the town.

“We’re getting taken advantage of by property owners,” he argued.

Taking this piece of land will actually improve the owner’s property, the board said. The town needs the land for its drainage improvements to Wildwood Street. Last week, the town unsealed bids for the project. The scope of work includes:

Base bid: installation of stormwater detention system (150,000 cubic feet), remove and replace existing headwall, four precast concrete settling tanks, 184 linear feet of corrugated wall stormwater detention chamber, 371 linear feet of PVC drains, seven precast drain manholes, 20 linear feet of PVC catch basin leaders, two precast catch basins, 500 cubic yards of rock excavation and disposal, field restoration, cold planning and curb-to-curb overlay, and other related tasks.

Alternate bid no. 1: installation of two precast drain manholes, 33 linear feet of PVC drains, 20 precast catch basins, 385 linear feet of PVC catch basin leaders, cold planning and curb-to-curb overlay, and other related tasks.

Alternate bid no. 2: installation of 1,000 linear feet of granite curbing, removal and resetting of 650 linear feet of curbing, and other related tasks.

The project value is estimated to be $3,880,000.

In a memo from Assistant Town Manager Mark Twogood, he anticipated work beginning around July 15 with the main project (base bid) to be completed by Dec. 31. He added that alternates 1 and 2 (additional paving and curbing along Wildwood Street) “if we are able to buy them will be complete in May 2020.”

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