GROTON -- At its meeting Monday, selectmen learned of an impending deal between the town and landowner Atlantic West LLC for lease of an empty lot adjacent to Town Hall.
The agreement would lease the property for much-needed parking space for Town Hall employees and the public they serve.
Selectmen were informed of the deal by Town Manager Mark Haddad. He said that the town would perform all the work needed to prepare the semi-wooded lot for use as parking and enter a lease agreement that would extend to the end of the year when it would be renewed for a full year.
Haddad said the new lot would yield 15 to 20 new parking spaces.
"It's sorely needed," acknowledged board member Joshua Degen.
On busy evenings when a number of meetings are being held at Town Hall, the current lot fills quickly with overflow parking often extending up and down both sides of Station Avenue.
At one time, the empty lot had been the site of a house before it was demolished to make way for new condominiums. That plan, however, went away when the property was purchased by Atlantic West.
The owner had intended to include the lot as part of an overall plan for the redevelopment of Station Avenue it had proposed. But when a competing plan was chosen by the town, use of the lot went to the back burner. The accepted plan was never implemented and the one-third acre lot remained empty, slowly being taken over by woodland.
Haddad said designs for the new parking lot were due to be reviewed by the Planning Board June 13 but actual payment for the lease has yet to be worked out with the owner.
"I think it makes a lot of sense," said Haddad of leasing the property.
But board member Joshua Degen had another suggestion: Why not simply buy the property outright?
Haddad said that was not out of the question and that he would approach the owner about the possibility.
Also at their June 3 meeting, selectmen:
* Learned that treatment of Lost Lake and Knops Pond with sonar anti-weed chemical has begun with some changes already being observed 30 days into the 90-day process. Use of the chemical process to get the weed problem at the lakes under control was approved by residents at town meeting.
* Were told that after wide-ranging advertising, only a single developer has responded to a request for proposal by the town for offers to renovate the former Prescott School building into an inn. That firm subsequently pulled out, said Haddad, after it learned that the building presented too small a project. The town manager confessed that the notion of making additions to the building had not been discussed by the Reuse Committee and suggested to selectmen that it be considered. A working meeting between selectmen and the Reuse Committee to discuss the suggestion was to be scheduled.
* Were introduced to Groton School's new headmaster, Temba Maqubela, by its outgoing headmaster, Richard Commons. Commons made the introduction on the occasion of the school's annual contribution to the town's coffers of $100,000 in acknowledgment for public services rendered. Commons said Maqubela had held an associate's chair for academics at Andover's Phillips Academy where he has been a "legend" for the last 25 years. "Groton School is tremendously privileged to have Mr. Maqubela take over."