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.
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