Town to determine water, sewer costs on industrial tract for potential sale

August 19, 1993|By Traci A. Johnson | Traci A. Johnson,Staff Writer

Prospective buyers may be able to get to the bottom line on the cost of providing public utilities to the only available industrial land in New Windsor.

Buchart Horn Inc., the town's engineering consultants, will conduct a study to determine how much buyers could expect to pay the town to extend water and sewer service to 14 acres of the land off Wakefield Valley Road.

"That's the first question on everyone's minds once they see the property," said Mayor Jack A. Gullo Jr. "When companies came to us to ask about services to the land, we had no concrete information."

The parcel of industrial land is owned by Jack A. Gullo Sr., the mayor's father. It is part of the 28 acres the elder Mr. Gullo bought to farm and raise his family on 18 years ago.

Jack Gullo Sr. said all of his land was annexed about eight months ago, after he declined an offer from then-Mayor James C. Carlisle to annex only 5 acres of the property.

"I didn't want to annex just a piece of it. It was either take all of it or none of it," the senior Mr. Gullo said. "I thought it would be a good thing for the town as well as for myself."

Since then, several companies have expressed interest in buying the land, but there was never any information about water and sewer service to the area.

"I thought that when I got annexed that it would only be a matter of time before they added me to the town water and sewer service," said the senior Mr. Gullo.

"I am paying the taxes on it, but not getting the services. The water line stops just about at my property line."

Mayor Gullo said the utilities are needed to sell the property, but one has ever known how much it would cost.

"There is not sufficient information on the water and sewer conditions on the land. There is no sewer line out there," Mayor Gullo said.

"Our [the town] philosophy is that the user pays to put these things in," the mayor said. "We can't find a user if we cannot tell them how much they have to pay."

Jack Gullo Sr. said that while he has not placed ads to sell his land, he began seeking buyers for the property several years ago. The property also is listed with the county's Economic Development Office.

When Carroll's county commissioners went to Chicago last week they discussed the parcel with prospective buyers, the elder Mr. Gullo said. Other interested industries have looked at the property, situated close to railroad tracks, as a possible location for a distribution center.

At one point, Lowe's Cos. Inc. was interested in the property, the owner said.

He said such national chains as Hechinger's and Food Lion replied to his letters asking them if they might be interested in the property by saying that the area lacked the population they required to put in a local affiliate.

The elder Mr. Gullo contends that once the current development boom in town peaks, the stores will look at New Windsor in a different way.

"I give it a few years, when the 100 houses are built and the [Church of the Brethren] retirement center and other developments come on line," he said. "This town will become a commodity and so will the land."

The Town Council agreed Aug. 4 to allow the engineers to determine the cost of running town water and sewer lines to the property.

The engineers will develop a work estimate first so the town will know how much it will cost to do the study, Mayor Gullo said.

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