Editorial: Six more on Sunset

The town is on the doorstep of recouping the $7 million it invested in former Schlumberger land half a decade ago.

All officials have to do is give the greenlight to developer Marty Handshy to purchase one acre of land off Sunset Lane.

Considering the time — less than five years since the purchase — and the amount (yes, there are six zeroes following that seven), it’s an impressive feat.

Coupled by the fact that the town’s three reasons for buying the land — to control the use of the property, to ensure any future use did not further stress infrastructure and subject the town to additional expenses, and to avoid high levels of traffic in a residential area — are all being checked off in Handshy’s six-unit plan, residents can sense a palpable victory.

As long as the one-acre buy comes in at $780,000 — or higher, depending on negotiations, then taxpayers will no longer have to worry about the town’s big purchase in 2012.

The ledger will be balanced out, and the rest of the land — yes, there’s still room for an outdoor cultural center and plenty more to save as green space — can still be subject to the town’s control.

While money never hurts to smooth things over, there’s more than just sheer fiscal sensibility that should propel this idea forward.

The town can make the deal and still have 29 acres to develop on its own.

Of course, the Schlumberger Citizens Committee still has to take a look at Handshy’s proposal and give a recommendation before the town can start thinking about the future.

Right now, Ridgefield still has 30 acres and a $971,000 bill.

Numbers are complex, but decisions to lower town debt shouldn’t be complicated.