October 16, 2009

Mechanic Street property purchase

A persistent commenter has asked, fairly, why the city bought property on Mechanic Street last year.
I honestly don't remember it so I Googled it this morning.
So far, I found this from the May 28, 2008 Planning Commission minutes:
II. New Business
1. Executive Session re Pending Litigation (Warzecho v. City of Bristol)
At Mr. Weiner’s suggestion, the Commission ag
reed to take item VII.1 out of sequence.
Mr. Weiner explained this matter was to be discussed as an Executive Session item, under the State Law because it was pending litigation. He explained the process of an executive session and noted that the session would not be recorded and would not be part of the meeting minutes.
Commissioner Ewings motioned for the Planning Commission to go into executive session and the persons allowed to be present at the executive session are as follows: the Planning Commission, the professional staff, Recording Secretary,
Superintendent of the Water Department and the Water Department’s attorney.
Commissioner Keeton seconded the motion.
Motion carried 5-0.
Commissioner Soares motioned for the Planning Commission to come out of executive session.
Commissioner Dell’Aera seconded the motion.
Motion carried 5-0.
Commissioner Soares motioned to recommend to the City Council, under CT General State Statutes, Section 8-24, approval of the acquisition of 290 Mechanic Street, lot #3, for purposes of settlement of the pending litigation of Warzecho versus the City of Bristol, as them action is consistent with the Plan of Conservation and Development goals to protect the City’s public water supplies.
Commissioner Ewings seconded the motion.
Motion carried 5-0.

It was on the executive session agenda for City Council meetings in May and June 2008.
Here's the civil case record. It appears the city took the property by eminent domain. I would guess it was a water department thing, but that's based solely on the location of the property.
I have nothing yet that indicates what it was all about. Anybody know?


Here's the appraisal information. The city bought the property last October for $616,500. I have no idea why.
Todd Warzecho bought the land in 1994 for $50,000, then built a big house on it in 2000. The whole thing is appraised by the city for $386,000.
Here's a picture of the the house at 290 Mechanic St that the city purchased. Anyone know if it's still there? What's the deal?

Updated on October 28th --
I pulled the Water Board minutes for last year to see if they would shed any light on this.
What I found is that on April 22, 2008, the board met in executive session regarding the "Mechanic Street Well."
That is, of course, not a valid reason for a closed-door session, but we'll assume it's shorthand for talking about the legal case involving the Warzecho property.
The commissioners met for an hour in secret, then emerged to take no action. It appears that Mayor Art Ward, city lawyer Jeff Steeg and a private attorney, Brian Henebry, were also in the session.
On May 8, another executive session was called, this time regarding "acquisition for 290 Mechanic St."
The commissioners took a unanimous vote after the closed-door session to buy Warzecho's 7.4 acres for $630,000. No reason was given in the minutes for the decision.
On June 12, the Water Board held another executive session "to discuss Warzecho property," which is again not a valid reason for a secret meeting. No votes were taken in public.
On July 10, the panel again met in secret session "to discuss Mechanic Street well." That, too, is not a valid reason under the state Freedom of Information Act.
Finally, the Water Board met on October 23. At that meeting, the minutes record, Superintendent Rob Longo said he had the deed for the property.
"He also stated he received a well use approval for the Mechanic Street well" from the state Department of Public Health, the minutes said. They also record that Longo told commissioners the well had been in operation for a week.
As best I can tell, there is no record of what the property is for, what happened to the house or anything that would shed light on the whole issue.
Next up, I'll talk Longo and some water commissioners. We'll get to the bottom of this eventually.

Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com


Anonymous said...

I believe it had to do with the well issue and the abutting prop.

Anonymous said...

This purchase could also have been for flood control.

Craig Minor said...

As I recall, we bought it to protect our aquifer that was right next door. The former property owners kept horses, and the manure would contaminate the well field.

Anonymous said...


Why wasn't your reasoning regarding the contamination factor taken into consideration when the Warzeckos filed for permit when they built the house and horse barns?

A purchase price that is twice the value of the property is excessive and it explains why it was kept a secret.

Anonymous said...

Like the dog poop up at Robert's - yeah Minor you were a big fan of that. Glad to see you are off the council.

Anonymous said...


Simple put, the Water Department was not considering that site for a well, the need wasn't there.

If we bought it 10 years ago (Nicstro wouldn't have spent a dime for future needs) would you have been happy.

Craig is basically correct and should not be criticized.

Craig Minor said...

I'm not going to go into the details here. The bottom line is, due to a change in State of CT health regulations, Bristol had to stop the horses from crapping in the aquifer recharge area around our wellfield (it was not a recharge area when the former owners started keeping horses). The only way to do that was to buy them out. We opted to pay the owners a little more than fair market value (not double) for their home because it was not a willing sale. Sure, we could have taken it by eminent domain and paid only what the home was worth, but I don't think that would have been fair to the owners since it wasn't their idea to sell it to us in the first place.

Anonymous said...

As usual, poster 9:21 10/16 you state incorrect information and are quick to criticize without getting the full story. I'm sick and tired of people spewing venom when they haven't looked into the matter a little further. Oh yeah, I forgot. That would take a little effort which you obviously are way too lazy to put forth. Apparently your mouth gets way more exercise than your brain!

Anonymous said...

So - who lives there now and how much do they pay the City each month for that beautiful home and whirpool??

Anonymous said...

Craig -
I give you much credit and admiration for posting under your own name. Good for you! And thank you for your years of service to this City - it takes a big person to do that, regardless of politics.

not said...

5:09 - and evidently, you not one of those people.

Anonymous said...

$230,500 is more than a "little" over the value of the property.

Anonymous said...

The Bugryns did not want to sell either!So I think the city should pay them another 900,000 dollars!Oh wait,their not contractors like Wazorcho!