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September 24, 2018

Kennebunkport voters OK $10M to purchase 85-acre downtown parcel

Voters in Kennebunkport on Sept. 19 authorized the town to purchase an undeveloped 85-acre lot on North Street for $10 million, but it's not yet clear what will be done with the land.

About two-thirds of the 150 residents attending a special town meeting approved a warrant for the purchase, the York County Coast Star reported.

The parcel, across from a fire station and less than a mile from the downtown area, has been owned since 2006 by CDMK, a Massachusetts developer. CDMK received approval that year to build a phased subdivision of 80 residential units, to be called Olde Port Village, but the plans have stalled.

The most recent snag occurred last year, when CDMK faced a mortgage foreclosure on the property. The town considered buying it at auction, the Star said, but the foreclosure was averted and the auction never happened. However, some residents expressed interest in the town acquiring the property in the future.

Selectman Stuart Barwise said at the meeting that the town has no immediate plans for the land, but would hire a consultant to help determine a use if the purchase is successful.

"It's located in proximity to downtown and has immediate access to all of the town infrastructure," Barwise said. "There's nothing quite like this parcel in Kennebunkport, nor will there be anytime in the future."

The approval allows the town to negotiate purchase of the property for $10 million, which would be bonded over 20 years, and to spend $100,000 in undesignated funds to cover legal costs. The bond would add 36 cents to the town's property tax rate, or about $36 per year on a $100,000 valuation.

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