Shen board president: Circle is tighter on land deal

A sign on Moe Rd. near the Shenendehowa campus for the special land vote on April 4, 2017.

MARC SCHULTZ/GAZETTE PHOTOGRAPHERA sign on Moe Rd. near the Shenendehowa campus for the special land vote on April 4, 2017. MARC SCHULTZ/GAZETTE PHOTOGRAPHER

By Kassie Parisi

Gazette Reporter

CLIFTON PARK — The Shenendehowa Board of Education is closing in on a deal with the town for 32 acres of district-owned land.

In April, residents overwhelmingly rejected the district’s proposal to sell the forested parcel to BBL Construction for about $2 million. The vote came after months of harsh campaign rhetoric, with many residents expressing a desire for the land to go to the town and others insisting it should be sold to BBL, which had plans to build a ShopRite on the land.

Prior to Tuesday’s board meeting, board members met in executive session to discuss land values, board President Bill Casey said. He compared the sale negotiations to a large circle that becomes smaller as the two entities move toward agreement.

“The circle is tighter,” Casey said to the board.

During the executive session, Casey said, the board worked toward an asking price for the land and what a good price to settle at might be. In late June, the board presented the town with an asking price of $1.3 million, including other concessions that would add value to a lower sale price, compared with the BBL bid of $2 million. The proposed concessions included the shared cost of a consultant to plan improvements to the parcel, or funding for maintenance of athletic fields behind Arongen and Shatekon elementary schools.

Casey said that, ideally, the board would like to see any deal go out to a referendum in mid-November, though he admitted there still isn’t a solid timeline. For now, he said, the board has targets it would like to work toward, as does the town.

“I remain optimistic. There’s a will to make this work on both sides,” Casey said after the meeting.

The board has met with the town three times to discuss a sale. As of Tuesday night, another meeting date had not been set.

Clifton Park Town Supervisor Phil Barrett was unable to provide a timeline as to when a deal might be reached.

“A timeline for the referendum process would be established by the board of education if and when an agreement is reached,” he said in an emailed statement.