Town of Woodland Special Called Meeting to Discuss the Armory
Date: November 20, 2019
Kenny Manuel – Mayor
David Cooper – Commissioner
Brian Christison - Commissioner
Barbara Outland – Commissioner
Pat Liverman – Commissioner
Donielle McDermott – Town Clerk
Meeting called by Commissioner Liverman
Call to Order: The mayor called the meeting to order at 7pm and turned the meeting over to Commissioner Liverman.
Commissioner Liverman said the board gave the Armory Committee one year to see if they could find a way to raise the money to support the armory. That year is up. She sees no need to have another public hearing since one was already done a year ago. At this point she would like to discuss whether the board wants to sell the armory or not.
Mayor Manuel said that no action can be taken at this meeting, and he believes this needs to be discussed at a regular board meeting, however we can deliberate this. His suggestion is to let the new board make these decisions. Mayor Manuel also asked that in the future, include everyone on the board in announcing a meeting before posting publicly. Mayor Manuel asked Commissioner Liverman why the rush.
Commissioner Christison answered saying they would like to be able to make a decision at the next meeting and in order to do so, the board needed to meet to discuss it. Looking at the armory financially, the town cannot afford to spend money on the armory because we are about to spend a lot of money on the Fire Department building. Commissioner Christison would like to sell the armory and put the proceeds on the new Fire Department building, and he would like to start this process soon.
Mayor Manuel requested the board to announce this to the public so they are aware the board is considering selling the armory.
Commissioner Outland said she knows two gentlemen who are interested in buying the armory, one of whom is planning on running a business from the armory.
Commissioner Cooper said he would like to see the proceeds from the sale of the armory to go towards the Fire Department if we sell it.
Mayor Manuel reminded the board we need to go through the upset bid process. He appreciates the board communicating with each other on their ideas, but again reminded them that he would like to be included. In response, Commissioner Christison said they cannot all talk together at one time unless during a board meeting, so that was the reason for calling this meeting. Mayor Manuel still suggested waiting for the new board to take over and allow them to go into closed session to discuss this.
Discussion resumed on the possibility of a buyer for the armory and Commissioner Christison stated he would like to see if we can add wording to the upset bid notice and future contract making sure the buyer does not just buy it to resell it. Mayor Manuel reminded the board that once we sell a property, we have no rights on what the buyer does with the property in the future.
The armory is currently zoned as R15 and will need to be rezoned before selling it. This will determine what types of businesses could purchase the armory.
Mayor Manuel stated that the December meeting is a reorganizational meeting and he recommended informing the new board members that they are considering going into closed session to discuss the armory.
Commissioner Cooper asked if the furnace needs to be inspected before the heat is turned on and Mayor Manuel said it does. The board was in agreement to call and set up the inspection.
Public Comments: Patty Deneen wondered if the board read the information about the armory committee. Mayor Manuel said they would discuss this during the December meeting.
Barbara Gosney said having the committee was an attempt to see if things can work with the armory, but some of the members didn’t go to the meetings so she feels that selling may be best. She asked if the armory can be rezoned without rezoning the entire block and the board told her it could.
Jean Bryant stated she was good with selling the armory but is concerned about who it will be sold to.
Commissioner Christison asked people to think about the library. He wants to make sure the people who volunteer to work the library do not fall apart like the armory committee because the town is ultimately responsible. He asked if there would be a library committee and the mayor said yes. Bob Gosney replied that the library will be on a much smaller scale than the armory would have been with fewer hours and less risk. Mayor Manuel said that the Upper Coastal Plain Council of Government has a program to help pay for the workers.
Patty Deneen said the three houses across from her were empty when she moved in and they are now all filled and is thrilled.
Brenda Hewitt stated that she spoke with a doctor recently who said they were pleased with the first day at the new doctor’s office in town and said it was great.
Adjourn: At 7:35 pm, Commissioner Liverman made a motion to adjourn the meeting. Commissioner Christison seconded and the motion carried.