After a lengthy negotiation process took place to ensure the land was environmentally and commercially suitable to own.
With all the due diligence taken care of and many private "executive" sessions later, the Board of Selectmen held a public vote Wednesday evening to decide whether to go forward with the purchase of the 45-acre property -- with a vote of 3-2, the purchase will take place.
First Selectman Rudy Marconi and Selectwomen Maureen Kozlark and Barbara Manners voted in favor of the motion. Selectmen Andrew Bodner and Di Masters voted against the purchase.
The vote had to take place Wednesday after a two-day extension from the Feb. 7 deadline.
The ultimate environmental analysis of the property came up clean, not including the two contaminated sites known prior to the December referendum -- the Schlumberger company is held responsible to clean the property.
But the timeline for which Schlumberger is held for its remediation was a matter of dispute at the selectmen's table.
The investigation of the site can take as many as two years, after which Schlumberger has as many as three years to complete the cleanup. The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) has three years then to approve the remediation, adding up to a possible eight years for economic viability for the property.
Bodner had a problem with that timeline -- the idea was to sell the land as soon as possible to bring the property back into the tax base.
"We don't want to wait eight years to recover the money," Bodner said.
Manners felt the immediate recovery of the funds were less imprtant than securing the property from possible development.
"This is an incredible bargain that will not be here 10 years from now," Manners said. "We've been afforded a great opportunity here, and I firmly believe this is something we won't regret."
Masters's denial of the purchase stood with the agreement with Schlumberger to clean up the current contamination and the lack of control the town would encounter along the way -- she said it would be "too open and too vulnerable for us."
"If we choose not to move forward," Marconi said, "the price is going to be huge, and that's a mistake."
"The decision is not black or white," Bodner said. "It's sort of grey."