Letter: Proposed land sale is good for town

To the Editor:

Sell one acre of the remaining 30 acres of open space at the Schlumberger site for $780,000 (or more) to Charter Group Partners? That’s the question that will soon be considered by the selectmen.

With their approval, there will be a public hearing followed by a town meeting, or referendum, to secure the residents’ approval. Charter will construct two buildings containing a total of six townhouses.

What benefits does the town gain by selling the acre? First: Immediate revenue of at least $780,000. Second: Residential tax revenue of about $90,000 per year. Without factoring in inflation, that’s $900,000 over the next 10 years and continuing. Third: The additional units would provide condominium housing for Ridgefield residents (about 85% of the current 54-unit Charter project will be occupied by Ridgefielders). Fourth: The town would still have 29 acres of open space that is immediately adjacent to the village center. Fifth: If not funded elsewhere, the town could use the revenue from the sale for the required site improvements for the two commercial tenants (parking and access road).

What are the possible negatives? First: The proposed parking for the two commercial buildings would be reduced, but more than sufficient space would remain. Second: As Dick Larson, chairman of the disbanded Schlumberger Citizen Committee, stated in The Ridgefield Press last week, it is possible that the two Charter buildings could impact the proposed concert site. Third: There are some that feel residential growth will detract from the open space of the site.

I urge the selectmen to negotiate the sale of one acre to Charter. The selectmen, as well as the Board of Finance, should look favorably on immediate revenue from the sale, as well as long-term real estate tax revenue.

The proposed sale is good for the town and should be approved by the residents.

Bill Davidson