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Auburn wind turbine panel says to turn down $1M gift

AUBURN – The Wind Turbine and Alternative Energy Committee voted on Monday to send a letter to selectmen recommending that they not accept an offered donation of $1 million toward the purchase of 50 acres on Southold Road.

Selectmen are to meet at 7 .pm. Thursday to continue the public hearing on their right of first refusal on the land, which is owned by the Sylvia C. Post Family Limited Partnership I and IV. Partner Robert C. Post signed a purchase and sale agreement with Tilltime Investment Corp. president Scott B. Sundin for $2.86 million for the land. The town would have to match that amount to buy it.

Selectmen have until Dec. 10 to vote, or the sale to Mr. Sundin will go through by default.

At a special town meeting Nov. 18, members voted 98-2 to appropriate the money, through borrowing, to buy the land.

The board also has to decide whether to accept a $1 million gift from an anonymous donor toward the purchase. The gift comes with the stipulation that the land remain open space forever.

Wind Turbine Committee member Jack Barkus said the restriction would prevent future use of the Southold Road site for solar power or other uses.

“If the town is paying for the land, we should be able to use it for whatever we see fit.”

The four members present at the meeting of the seven-member committee voted unanimously to support recommending that the money not be accepted.