I hate to see this buried in the comments

Greenwich firemen

Burn, baby burn Greenwich firemen stand by as they watch taxpayers’ money go up in flames

The Mickster posted the following in the comments section, complaining that our town has agreed to pay $2 million for 4 acres land off King Street from Fairview Country Club, at least double what anyone has ever paid for that street before, to host the new firehouse. [Greenwich Time article inspiring his screed here].

He also notes that somehow the town paid $1.2 million for the same project without making the sale contingent on water tests which, when failed, caused us to write off the entire sum.

Hmm: paying twice the value of land? Buying land without test contingencies that every single homeowner or commercial land buyer requires as standard? There’s something rotten in the state of Denmark, and at 101 Field Point Road.

I’m still waiting, by the way, for an explanation of how Tesei got a $1.1 million mortgage to buy his new house with a $100,000 salary and his only asset, a condo on River Road, was deeply underwater with a $700,000 mortgage. Nice work, if you can get it.

Here’s the Mick:

Here’s how well our Town spends your money. I just got a notice they have negotiated to buy 4 ACRES from Fairview County Club on King Street for TWO MILLION DOLLARS to house the proposed Fire Station. Property not yet sub divided (lol). Couple of things here:
1. They already paid $1.2 MILLION for a 2.5 ACRE lot just north of the Griff in 2004 but “tests and analyses” AFTER (my emphasis) AFTER the purchase, deemed the site unsuitable. You couldn’t buy subject to running those tests??? Was there a rush? WWWWTTTTFFFFF!!!!!
2. Do you know the last time somebody bought ANYTHING on King Street for TWO MILLION???? NEVER – EVER – EVER!!!
3. This will be a bigger complex than all the other fire stations combined.
4. There’s .63 of an acre north on the Liquor Store on King asking $500k++ on the MLS – buy it for $400k and get the job done.
AMATEUR HOUR AT TOWN HALL.
FOUR ACRES…. OMG … Is it after 5.00 yet?

The public BET meeting where this item (the land purchase, not Tesi’s home purchase, alas) is set for Town Hall at 7:00 PM on March 17th. Might be fun to attend and ask embarrassing questions.

UPDATE: Just out of curiosity, I looked up the mileage and driving time from Glenville’s firs station to 1241 King Street, the site of the new firehouse. 3.7 miles, driving time (for a private citizen following the speed limit) 7 minutes.

How much is shaving a minute or so from the response time worth? How much will it cost to hire and station four new fire department members to the North West Fire and Music Hall?

UPDATE II

The only comparable sale I could find for this property was 1093 King Street, which sold on February 26 of this year for $1.550 million. 3.32 acres, including an 1850 house that was completely renovated, stem-to-stern, in 2013.

UPDATE III: Louis Van Leewuen, one of the towns best, most experienced builders (Greenwichconstruction.com) tells me that demolishing and carting away the condemned property at 1327 King Street would take one day, cost $15,000, maybe a few thousand more if there’s a huge amount of asbestos to remove (the town says there are “minimal traces”). The town wants to spend $65,000 to do that job. Why?

 

67 Comments

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67 responses to “I hate to see this buried in the comments

  1. James

    And the land goes to the gentleman in town hall…. Ok yeah I want to go ahead and sell it now….

  2. Pi

    Did they end up selling the 2.5 acres next to the Griff after they determined it wasn’t suitable?

    • No. They’re “looking into it”. Value of unbuildable land on King Street? Not $1.2 million, certainly.

      • hmmm

        value is negative at best unless the town will not be assessing property taxes on it.

        Keep up the good work Mike, we’re all counting on you.

    • Mickster

      No, they have an emergency medical unit based there in a modular trailer after spending another $100k devising the existing house. The land – a strip North of the Griff – is worth a fraction of what the Town paid for it. Curiously enough, when I look at the online tax records that is gleaned from the Town records the previous owners (sellers) name has been redacted. Very interesting.

      • hmmm

        fraction? it’s negative.

        • HS Mom

          here’s the RTM notes when they voted on the purchase:
          This request is for an appropriation and bond and or note authorization to fund the acquisition of real property at 1327 King Street. The Board of Selectmen approved the recommendation to purchase this property at their meeting of June 24, 2004.

          The Planning and Zoning Commission approved the Board of Selectmen’s application for a Municipal Improvement (CGS 8-24) in connection with the acquisition at their meeting of July 20.

          The Board of Estimate and Taxation approved the appropriation and bond and or authorization at their meeting on July 19, 2004 by an 11-0 vote. The cost of the property is $1,275,000. The terms of the purchase are a down payment of $300,000 with the balance paid over a ten (10) year period. The owner of the property Mr. Richard Belanger has agreed to take back a note from the town for the balance owed on the property at an interest rate of 4.25% on the outstanding balance. The annual payments will be funded from the Reserve Fund and will average $112,000.

          This appropriation request is for $1,325,000, ($1,275,000 property, $50,000 estimated expenses). The additional $50,000 is an estimate for costs/fees associated with the closing and acquisition of the property (attorney fees/survey fees/etc). If the cost for these services is less than $50,000, the balance shall remain in the Reserve Fund for Capital and Non-Recurring Expenditures. Both the down payment of $300,000 and the $50,000 will come directly from the Reserve Fund.

          The property will be used as a public safety facility, housing both fire and emergency medical services personnel and vehicles. Initially, the existing building will be used as is by GEMS. Long term plans for the new building, including the personnel requirements will be developed over the next three years and included in the appropriate capital and operating budgets.

          The property was appraised by certified appraiser Elizabeth Sutliffe on April 22, 2004. That appraisal estimated the market value of the property at $1,175,000. The appraised value was discounted by approximately $160,000 because of 1/ the property’s location on a busy street (King Street) and 2/ the configuration of the lot (long and narrow). However, the location of the property on King Street is the town’s main reason for its acquisition.

          This resolution has been prepared by Day Berry and Howard, Bond Counsel for the town and follows the requirements of the town charter and the appropriate state statutes.

  3. HS Mom

    Why are we spending a small fortune to build a public service, that depends on response time, spitting distance from the border of NY? Fire departments and ambulance bases should be in the middle of their response area, not in one corner.
    Like the school district, the town should have done a comprehensive study of fire coverage years ago, before spending money to expand the current ones and build a new downtown HQ, and determined where departments should be for optimal coverage. I recall Mason asking for this multiple times during BET meetings. If we had moved where the departments were, instead of renovating and expanding the old volunteer ones, we could have had fewer buildings, trucks, and employees while providing better coverage to the town for a lot less money.

    • Mickster

      That would make too much sense. HS Mom.

    • hmmm

      comprehensive study…now that’s funny!

      when using other people’s money the only comprehensive study is who will give me the nicest pool at my florida home?

    • Anonymous

      ^^^
      “In certain sections of town, particularly Old Greenwich and Riverside, homeowners and Realtors alike are confused by a sharp increase in property values in the 2015 revaluation, at a time where homes in those areas aren’t selling.”

      • hmmm

        some assessments increased by 20%. How did they calculate those numbers? It’s much cheaper to service these areas.

        Everyone should be appealing.

      • Anonymous

        Article is misleading. Sales are definitely down from the peak of the last couple of years, but the revaluation is adjusting up from further back.

        • Anonymous

          That is the point, prices are easily up 13% from the last reval and the area is still probably under-assessed vs. other parts of town. Homeowners are really happy about this fact until it is ratified by an assessment.

        • Anonymous

          Exactly, @11:19. We’ve heard nothing but “Riv and OG Rule” for the last three years from both buyers and Realtors alike. But now that the taxman’s caught up with the rise in property value for these areas, the same people are crying foul. Puh-leeze.

      • hmmm

        says the guy who lives in back country using more resources than he pays for.

        • Anonymous

          Who me? I don’t live in the back country. Sorry.

          Am curious as to how exactly, they use more resources than they pay for since they aren’t on town water or sewer, are more sparsely populated (which equals far fewer children in local public schools), and aren’t plowed nearly as often as more populated parts of GW are – to name a few spendy items. Enlighten us, please.

  4. anonymous

    Mickster says in his comment “I got notice”. What does that mean? The Town wrote to him becsuse he’s a realtor? An abutter? Did others get notice?

    • Mickster

      I am subscribed to patch.com emails

      • HS Mom

        Will the 200 breaking news updates a day decrease when Barbie “officially” goes to work for Peter? I stopped subscribing because the number of emails got to be ridiculous and the writers were so far up Petey’s rectum that they could use his address for a beach card.

        • Anonymous

          Agree with you HS Mom…..and boy did this Patch Editor buy into each and every one of those grandiose projects over the year—-with MISA and all the rest. Of course, is the furthest from a true Republican so it makes perfect sense he puts a fox in the hen house as his Admin.

  5. Make Greenwich Great Again?
    It took both Parties to drive our sense of Town Down but they could not have done it without Institutional Incompetence the creates Greenwich Incontinence.
    Westchester Airport is going to triple it’s capacity….Emergency Response for rent?

  6. Anonymous

    This is crime and should be investigated ! Why doesn’t Greenwich times put this on the front page ! Great catch mickster – especially since we are so close to St. Pattys day 😀

  7. Walt

    Dude –

    It looks like you have an expectation of efficient government for the taxes you pay. “Efficient Government” is as big an oxymoron as “intelligent retard” or “professional real estate agent”. IT DOESN’T EXIST!!

    I just can’t figure out if it is due to incompetence or fraud. Probably both. The town should appoint an independent, unaffiliated, non-political objective committee to review some of this stuff. PICK THE NAMES OUT OF A HAT!! Non-partisan, non-political, qualified people to objectively evaluate how this CRAP happens. Start to hold the public servants – YES THAT’S RIGHT SERVANTS!! – accountable.

    I would propose the Mickster attend on the 17th and report back, but I know that is the Holiest of his Holy days. And he will probably have no memory of the meeting on that day anyways.

    Your Pal,
    Walt

    • Ha! Yeah, but a political commentator on PajamasMedia has been doing a “drunkblog” of the presidential debates the past two elections, and they’re not bad. The Mickster might emulate him.

    • Mickster

      You are correct, Walt. I will be dancing an Irish jig with Hymie at the Fairview Cc that night. They are throwing a party. Something about a windfall!! Lots of high fives around the clubhouse lately.
      There are a few things I DO know something about and one of them is the value of Greenwich property.
      BTW if the original land purchased for the ridiculous sum of $1.2 million next door to the Griff doesn’t have water, how much would it cost to pipe water from the Griff or the users on the other side? Do you think the nursery might have water? Who buys land without knowing there is sufficient water pressure on the property? I have to stop, I’m getting a headache just thinking of this. Heads should roll for the original deal.

      • Mickster

        The real issue I have is not that they overpaid for the original land but that 1.knowing the purpose of the property they neglected to test the land before closing (this is normal due diligence!) and
        2. the town’s solution to the problem when it was discovered is not to remediate but to spend another $2 million of our money buying another property (that could house a football field!).

      • HS Mom

        I think it was the septic system that killed the project. There was no way to situate the building on the very narrow lot and put in a septic system next to or behind it.

        • There were wetlands to the rear, preventing building in that direction and requiring the septic to be placed in front, thus making expanding that way impossible too. Toss in the well source for an abutting property, thus closing off that avenue and presto surprise! No room for a firehouse.
          Locating / identification of wetlands is easy to do and ALWAYS done before purchasing a construction lot. Why wasn’t it done here, and why did they so grossly overpay for the land in the first place?
          Interesting questions, never asked.

  8. Anonymous

    Why would you ever put an emergency service at the edge of a town?

  9. Anonymous

    Amazing that all of this money is being spent and we had to close the beach in Byram for the entire summer of 2015 because they couldn’t find a way to appropriate $100,000 for soil remediation.

    • Anonymous

      Anon at 11:34 am…..The delay in remediation no doubt had nothing to do with money and all to do with priorities, sense of urgency, and competence. Unfortunately, all lacking at Town hall.

      • hmmm

        the folks attending byram beach aren’t best friends with the folks in town hall? Isn’t that how it works?

        • Often, but in this case, it’s about creating a warm, lovable image for Greenwich, “people who care”. That makes Junior Leaguers happy, and thus their husbands happy, but accomplishes nothing else; the rest of the state envies, resents and hates us. Always will.

  10. A Northwest fire station, the NINTH in town, is excessive. Cost: $2 million for the land, $2 million for the building, $1 million for red trucks, and $2 million annually FOREVER for firefighters and their pensions and healthcare.
    The present value of this decision is probably $10 million. Benefits are meager: For the 1% of firefighter responses which are house fires (not false alarms, car fires, smoke alarms, etc.) the response time will go from 9 minutes from the other stations to 4 minutes from the new station. THOSE FIVE MINUTES AREN’T WORTH $10 million. Go tell the elected officials at the hearing that this MAKES NO SENSE.

    However, Mickster, you aren’t really saying the currently-owned land is a write-off. It will be sold. And obviously the small new firehouse isn’t larger than all the others, which include the $25 million Central Fire Station going up next to the Police HQ.

    A ninth firehouse isn’t needed. The BET turned it down for years, but the combined sustained efforts of Mr. Tesei and the fire chief have worn down some Republican BET members. The Democrats of course such as Jeff Ramer can be counted on to support ALL town spending plans, the more elaborate the better…….so this looks like it will get majority support, unless voices are raised at the hearings.

  11. Greenwich Taxpayer

    Well, it is obvious that Balzac is on the BET given that he or she has inside information – wonder if he/she will be voting against the project even if other people on the BET are supporting – probably not. Which brings me to another observation – all you bloggers on this blog NEED to get out to the BET hearing (bring your green beer) to voice your opposition to this ridiculous plan – and make a statement about the backroom deals that obviously someone has made. The BET needs to hear these embarassing questions – they need to be called out for this unbelievable scam that taxpayers will pay for.

  12. Anonymous

    Balzac…..great info! Thank you. I find our Town leaders seem to be living a parallel universe from the CT state of the economy. Just where do they see the job growth and strong economy to justify these half baked LARGE projects that go on forever.

  13. I wish I were on the BET.
    I confess I’m perverse enough to actually read the proposed Town budget and capital project list.

  14. R2D2

    “Forget it Jake,it’s Chinatown .”

  15. Anonymous

    I just checked the address of the BET members….funny, the NEW BET member (and former First Selectman’s) house Jim Lash….is in the NW area of proposed station. and, so are 2 other BET members–Ms. Kiernan and Mr. Blanklely. I wonder if their personal insurance premiums might be a factor here too? Just asking.

  16. Walt

    Dude –

    I can’t make the meeting, but you should go. I have an unbreakable commitment at Beamers that night. Can you go in my proxy? When it’s your turn to speak, introduce yourself, and ask the following:

    Which one of pecker heads is the HNIC? And how many of you needle dicks approved this cluster fuck of a project and why? And what were you thinking when you did? Or did you all just have your heads stuck so far up your collective asses that thinking was impossible? {Deep sigh, long pause, look up at the ceiling, and whisper LOUDLY “MOTHER FUCKER” -Ed}

    You piss my money away like drunken sailors at a Mexican whore house. WELL I WANT IT STOPPED!! NO ONE pisses my money away at Mexican whore houses BUT ME!! And I want answers. I want the truth! {Then do your Jack voice – Ed} The truth? THE TRUTH!!! YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH! {Say thank you, wait for a response, and write it down – Ed}

    Report back on how it goes.
    Your Pal,
    Walt

  17. Anonymous

    BTW, if the town leaders have identified a gap in NW part of our town, why don’t they close overlap stations elsewhere. Just how many firefighters do they want us to have in this town—all with rich benefits retiring no doubt at 50+ yrs old.

  18. pulled up in OG

    “Volunteers also took issue with career fire officials’ claims that the town fell short of National Fire Protection Agency standards for response time in parts of town, especially for the far reaches of the backcountry now served by stations in Glenville and Round Hill.

    “While the NFPA recommends initial response times of four minutes and full assignment arrival times of eight minutes for career firefighter-serviced municipalities, the delegation claimed those baselines were unrealistic for suburban Greenwich. The NFPA, they noted, had more lax standards — roughly seven to nine minutes — for more spread-out communities, recommendations to which the town was closer to compliance.”

    http://www.greenwichtime.com/local/article/Fire-staff-among-BET-s-hot-topics-5250114.php

    • Mickster

      That’s a very interesting article. We’re being sold a load of bullcrap (even the volunteer firefighters agree!) and a multi-million dollar construction and staffing and benefit bill that will last a lifetime, like Balzac, more eloquently, pointed out.. This is just more empire-building.
      I love these first responders but the admin is BS. Has that drunk chief “retired” yet – were they calculating his response time in the statistics – maybe that’s why we’re a “little off”?
      WHY DO WE NEED FOUR FUCKING ACRES @ $2 MILLION ?? Has Wetlands tested the property, can we put a septic there, is there access to a road?
      I’m going to lie down now for a while……………..

  19. Mickster

    To Balzac’s point the original land has resale value. Have the Town call CF and we will list and sell it!
    However, we have now spent a further probably $300k over the purchase price for demo plus legal plus interest plus plus. All this WITHOUT first testing the property to see it was appropriate for its intended use. That is downright negligence.
    The best solution we can come up with is to buy FOUR acres up the street for $2 million. You could put a friggin football stadium on four acres for crissake!!! There’s a listing beside the liquor store for 500k, oh but that’s only. 62 acres.
    What I want to know is how many new members will be admitted to the club this year and their names. If it walks like a duck..

    • Spring Forward

      Yes sir!

      “A football field (including the two end zones) is 360 feet long and 160 feet wide for a total of 57,600 square feet. When you take away the two 30-foot-long end zones at each end, the field is 48,000 square feet, making an acre about 91% of the field.

      An acre, which is a common measurement of land area, is equal to 43,560 square

  20. Spring Forward

    65k for the tear down?
    Bid must be going to Ceci Bro’s

  21. Anonymous

    Louis van Leeweun’s Project Manager, Sophia, must be the same one the Town uses? 🙂

    BTW, CF….beautiful construction work shown on their website.

  22. Buck Swope

    You know what else you can’t get in NW Greenwich, a pizza delivered? Maybe the town should subsidize a pizza place.

    Insurance companies use a rating agency to determine the rates it charges customers in a given location for fire insurance based on risk. Greenwich just received an ISO rating of 4-A/B (on a 1 to 10 scale, 1 is best) for the non-hydrant parts of town. With the addition of the new station staffed with 4 paid firefighters the expected rating is 4-A/B. THE SAME! If people complain they can’t get affordable fire insurance now, there will be NO CHANGE after spending $10 million +.

  23. Anonymous

    Jim Lash is back on the BET. He is the educated idiot who as First Selectman launched the current construction project boom here in the Town of Greenwich, with the building of the ridiculously-expensive Police Station.

    Sadly, in the very early 2000s, the town had an oppty to buy the office building that is at Exit 4 with a proposal to convert that to the Police HQ. At that time all the old-timers in town killed that because of cost and because of the fear of moving the HQ from downtown to Exit 4. It would have been a bargain. Subsequently, Jim Lash moved from the BET to First Selectman and was creative enough to marshall the support to build the excessively-expensive palace known as Police HQ, which once the new Fire HQ is built will be a $75 million “public safety complex”.

    All of this is initiative is led by what is known as the Republican party in Greenwich. Most of the residents of Greenwich are too busy to pay attention to these wasteful shenanigans. We do have people in official positions who fight against these projects, but they are overwhelmed by those who want “progress.”

    • dogwalker

      I have heard more than one [ex]RTMer regret their vote on purchasing that building. At the time, it seemed like the right move to contain costs because of the estimated price tag to bring it building up to code. They certainly didn’t anticipate the way events unfolded. Alas, hindsight is 20/20.

      • Anonymous

        dogwalker….you missed the point….given the POOR PLANNING, the lack of due diligence, the lack of common sense well known in the real estate industry—the Town should never have purchased the property. It wasn’t even close to a good decision.

        I get that the RTM has no idea in a lot of the leg work involved in these land deals—but certainly the FS, BET, or BOE should know what they are getting into.

        They don’t want to know because they just want to appease the advocates. Tell me who in this town didnt know the toxic waste landfill that was under the MISA auditorium. No—body.

  24. Anonymous

    By the way, there is already a firehouse in the NW. It is on Old Mill, at the intersection of Round Hill. However, it is said the limitation is that there isn’t enough land for a septic to make it capable of being a fulltime facility (rather than just volunteer). So the 0.63 acres near the liquor store on King probably would have the same problem. One suspects the good neighbors in the area, even though they want a NW firehouse, don’t want one in the immediate vicinity of their home, and this may be an unspoken issue w/ that location.

    • Mickster

      I think you just hit the proverbial nail on the head. It’s all down to the septic systems. Here’s an idea. Instead of spending TEN MILLION DOLLARS and more every year, we get Banks to pump the firefighters shit out every month instead of once a year. We could also tell them to ‘go’ at home before they come to work.
      I am still laughing at the Town after all it’s negotiations, and with all its departments, finding wetlands on the property after they paid for it.
      There are the same people who negotiate our labor and union contracts. Like our kids say OMG!!

      • Mickster

        Here’s another idea. Let’s spend $200k and build the best crapper we can next door at the Griff so the four guys can stroll over when the need arises.
        You can’t make this shit up – pun intended.
        OK, I’m off to bed. Over and out.
        Nest week we will be listing a 2.5 acre property on King St with wonderful golf views, a little damp on the northern end (ask Wetlands). It is undersized in a 4 acre zone so building Far is limited and septic limitations can be discussed with FF, your local broker. Owners expect to get offers over $1.25.

  25. anonymouse

    I would point out that even though this area is the “outskirts of town”, it is also home to several nursing homes and large schools (Brunswick, Sacred Heart) and so a few minutes shaved off the response time really could be quite significant in the larger scheme of things. Perspective.

  26. Anonymous

    anonmouse at 10:22am. What structural fire incidences have occurred in this area in the last 10 years?

    With fire alarms new dry fire hydrants–a new bridge on John Street, Glenville fire station, RHR fire station, Rye station, Armonk and Banksville fire stationms—would love to understand the gap better to address these structural fire incidences. DATA—we need DATA.

  27. Backcountry mama

    Who are the Ceci Bros? & What is the Ceci bros comment by Spring forward suppose to mean ? Thanks

  28. Equality 7-2521

    BET meeting was last night.It really hurts to have only the advocates for unbridled spending to show up.