GROTON -- Selectmen voted to approve a purchase-and-sales agreement with Groton Center Farms owner Dan McElroy for the sale of the former Center Fire Station, set to be abandoned with the completion of a new station off Farmers Row.
According to the agreement, McElroy will purchase the property for $100,000, having already given the town a $15,000 deposit.
In his renovation plans, McElroy intends to alter the building to reflect its original appearance before it became a fire station in the 1940s. Inside, the ground floor would be converted into a single commercial space possibly selling produce and renting bicycles and the second floor into a residential apartment.
Robert Collins, attorney for McElroy, told selectmen his client intended to move immediately through the permitting process with the town's land-use boards.
With the sale of two other town properties proving to be more difficult, Town Manager Mark Haddad asked selectmen to give him permission to issue a request for proposals to hire a Realtor to help market the former Tarbell and Prescott school buildings.
Members voted for the request.
Haddad told selectmen about plans by Kinder-Morgan Energy Partners to run a new 36-inch high-pressure natural-gas main from Dracut through Groton and beyond to supply area towns and other communities in central Massachusetts.
In Groton, the proposed pipeline would run across portions of land owned by the Groton-Dunstable Regional High School, Conservation Commission, Conservation Trust, beneath the Nashua River and over numerous private parcels.
Along the full length of the buried pipeline, a 50-foot-wide corridor would be permanently clear-cut for access.
Although some residents have come out against the plan on environmental grounds due to laying the pipeline or the gas produced by fracking, others feared for private property.
Longley Road resident Diane Hewitt told selectmen of her experience with Kinder-Morgan, whose methods appeared to be secretive, warning property owners that they planned to survey their land whether or not they have permission.
Hewitt also warned people might not realize that through federal and state agreements, the company could also gain the right to seize what land they need through eminent domain.
Selectmen were reluctant to condemn the company's plans outright and expected Haddad to continue efforts to contact Kinder-Morgan representatives for more information.
Haddad was also instructed to query the town's legal counsel while also continuing to try to arrange a meeting with company officials. At the same time, Haddad will meet with officials in other affected towns.
Fire chief search
Selectmen learned from Haddad that a fire-chief search committee had received 25 applications for the position being vacated by retiring Chief Joseph Bosselait, and that after interviews had been conducted, three finalists were chosen.
Haddad said plans called for the recommendation to the Board of Selectmen of two or all three of the finalists in early June so that members can conduct their own interviews and vote on appointing the new chief.
"This process has been outstanding," said Haddad.