Voters Approve $350K Purchase of House on Future School Property

At a packed Town Meeting last night, voters approved the cost of the house on the new Morgan School property as well as $20K for the Stanton House.


Voters at a December 12 Special Town Meeting raised their hands to approve two items: money for the historic Adam Stanton House and funds to purchase a private home that sits on the property of the future Morgan School.

In the first vote, which was unanimous, townspeople agreed to provide matching town money in the amount of $20,000 for the Stanton House.

Because the town approved the $20,000, it means a $20,000 grant from the CT Trust for Historic Preservation will be approved.  As a condition of the grant, the town was required to match the funds.

"We owe it to future generations to preserve the Stanton House and give them seed money so they can apply for federal and state grants," said Joann Dolan.

In the second vote, it was 102 "yes" to 91 "no" votes for the purchase of the residence 69-69A Killingworth Turnpike (Route 81) to make way for the new Morgan School. The cost of the house is $350,000.

First Selectman Willie Fritz said two appraisals were conducted on the property.

"One came in at $365,000 and one came in at $340,000 so we split the difference," he said.

Kirk Carr said that the house was built in 1800 and was the home of a Minuteman.

"We need to think twice about demolishing the house," said Carr.

The First Selectman said there were several scenarios for the future of the house with the last one being demolition.

"Best case scenario is that it is dismantled and moved," said Fritz.

Questions of possible contamination of the site, including the 69-69A property as well as the Clinton Nurseries property (already purchased by the town) came up, with one side saying a Phase I test showed no concerns and another saying there are "serious concerns."

Jay December 13, 2012 at 03:06 PM
another extremly close vote. This project is not good. Clinton is embarking on a decisive and unpopular expediture that is unpopular. Marginal approvals for massive public expenditures are not a victory but a serious warning of serious political failure..
Pat December 13, 2012 at 07:06 PM
Was the cost for this house taken into consideration when the new Morgan was approved, or is this an added expense? I unfortunately missed this vote and it appears many residents also missed it or just didn't care enough to vote on it.
MrsSmithWatchingWashington December 13, 2012 at 08:03 PM
Whether you are for the new high school or against it, aren't you all concerned about the toxins found in the soil that may cause health problems for our children? That is my major beef with this whole project- it seems to have been pushed through without proper investigation and planning.
Art Kuever December 13, 2012 at 08:21 PM
I believe that it was built into the contigency but it may have also had its' own line but it was considered in the original amount approved.
joan December 13, 2012 at 09:23 PM
If people in this town, cared anything about this problem with the land and the new school, then they should have shown up at the meeting and voted against it, that's the problem with this town, everyone complains that they don't like what's going on, but they're afraid to show up at these meetings and voice their opinions. It also seems like every meeting there is, having to do with the school, parents show up with all their kids taking up all the seats and the voters have no place to sit. The kids should NOT be allowed. These meetings should be for the adults. I saw kids with their hands raised, whether they were counted or not I don't know. Whether the two people counting saw who's hand it belonged to or not, I don't know, because it was too crowded.
Art Kuever December 13, 2012 at 09:44 PM
there are no more toxins at this locations then are at other locations with similar uses that now have housing developments on them. Phase One testing was done with no big issues brought to bear. This was the same process that was done with properties such as the Hammocks. Seeing that the property that was developed there had no issues, why is that this property is thought to have more issues? It was used by the same business doing the same things on it so why is this an issue? Where was this resistance to the Hammocks?
Art Kuever December 13, 2012 at 09:55 PM
Really? do you think the registrars don't know the difference between hands of adults and children? If you needed a seat you could have asked for the child to move. Not everyone has the ability to have babysitters on call. Some parents had to pick up kids from sporting events just to make this important vote and we had to sit through comments that had nothing to do with the vote at hand which caused parents to be late for picking up other children from events. I do agree that if at all possible, children should be left at home but there is not always an option. Still there was only like 200 people there, I still don't understand why more people don't attend these meetings or get the information from the meetings that are done. There was an opportunity for all to get the information the night before the vote but people were there, including selectmen, asking questions and making statements that were answered at the meeting.
joan December 13, 2012 at 11:07 PM
Art, there was a very petite elderly lady next to me and I noticed when she raised her hand, how small it was. Counting hands from across the room it's hard to tell if it's a child or an adult. Some of those kids were almost the same size of this little lady.
Jay December 13, 2012 at 11:49 PM
Interesting - you have a crowded ,hostile audience and no one called for a paper ballot? It is perfectly proper and should have been automatic by the registrar of Voters, the moderator or by motion from the floor. Running public meetings is a bit of a science not good ole boy tactics and illegal voting by "strangers" is common when no one verifys the legitimacy of voters via a paper ballot. The mechanics of democracy are often ignored by people hungry to get their way. Another strike against the legitimacy of this issue..
MrsSmithWatchingWashington December 13, 2012 at 11:51 PM
Not all of us can leave work early and get to a vote that took place, inconveniently, at 6:15pm according to a message I got from the CTA.
Art Kuever December 14, 2012 at 12:11 AM
The actual vote did not occur until 7:00. There was still only 200 people there, the last number that I heard is that there is like 9000 people that could vote. So, it must not have been that important for the majority of the town and I am sorry that you are not home by 6:00 but I suspect that more than 200 are home.
Art Kuever December 14, 2012 at 12:16 AM
So, I guess you weren't there because the paper ballot was called for but you have to have a vote for that and the vote was 'No' so the hand vote went on.
Jay December 14, 2012 at 12:28 AM
and now you have claims of illegitimacy.. Brilliant..
Jim Braun December 14, 2012 at 01:42 AM
Were there a lot of children in the green room? I was in the lobby waiting for the ZBA meeting and there were a lot of kids out there. I guess I (wrongly?) assumed most of the kids were in the lobby.
Debbie Lundgren December 14, 2012 at 01:43 AM
I am so proud of our town for voting to approve a $20,000 expenditure for the Stanton House. It is such a special part of our heritage. On the other hand, I'm heartsick that we will lose another antique center chimney cape on Route 81. Many Clintonites (including me!) still miss the picturesque antique cape that sat at the corner of Route 81 and Glenwood Road years ago, before it was replaced by the strip mall now occupying that spot. It seems that Killingworth has been more diligent in saving its old homesteads along Route 81. The Parmelee farmhouse managed to avoid destruction when Killingworth bought that acreage years ago. In fact, it has become a centerpiece for community activities in that town. When the Killingworth Elementary School was built on Route 81, the adjacent antique center chimney colonial somehow escaped demolition, even though it is quite close to the school property. Clinton has some precedent for valuing historic homes as well. The lovely center chimney cape on Glenwood Road has managed to survive for years, nestled among trees and perennial gardens and surrounded by Joel School property. When I first heard of the location for the new Morgan School, I was hoping that it could somehow peacefully coexist with the old homestead that occupies part of that land. Now it looks like that will not happen. I wonder if anyone else values these irreplaceable old homesteads, which give a uniquely New England character to our towns in Connecticut.
Jim Braun December 14, 2012 at 02:23 AM
Was the 81 corner one demolished or moved? I always thought that one was relocated.
Kirk Carr December 14, 2012 at 02:47 AM
A paper ballot was called for, but voted down. I agree with you completely. We will never have an accurate count and the vote was so close that accuracy was imperative.
joan December 14, 2012 at 12:49 PM
can someone PLEASE explain to me, WHY, people in our town can be sued for breaking the laws with violations, but yet we are aloud to have a hand count for such a big amount of $350,000. Just WHO, is breaking our laws in town.
Debbie Lundgren December 14, 2012 at 01:27 PM
I don't know what became of that red cape next to Morgan School. It would be good to know that it was relocated, but, unfortunately, it was still lost to us.
Jay December 14, 2012 at 03:01 PM
Actually it is "you" who choose the people who stage manage these improper behaviors and what you are really asking about is integrity in small things and large. That is why a judge is trying to determine if she will interven in a "political event" and allow the revote petition to be addressed by the voters. And any assumption that there are laws and systems that dictate what must be done are being mislead especially if you trust the so called " legal experts" -whose "opinions are far too often colored by who is signing their pay checks or those who claim extensive municipal experience. The reality is any town meeting of any kind is actually a fist fight and use of brass knuckles is not only common but considered a legitimate tool to win the proposal. There is no way a hand vote in a crowded room with over two hundred people can be consider appropriate and wherever the idea came from that the simple process of obtaining a untainted vote should be put to the participants raisies the question of a premeditated effort to cheat. You elected a Moderator and a Registrar of Voters to ensure ballot honesty. A paper ballot was the only way to ensure an honest vote in this case.
Bob B December 14, 2012 at 04:15 PM
It would be better to actually ask the entire town to vote on these issues via mail, email or electronic registration. That way you will get a true representation of how the public feels instead of loading up with special interests. This is a travesty. That house is an historical gem. But the collusion to vote this through is very sad for our town. The price tag associated with this and the wave of the hand to pass it is disturbing. Town records value the property at $268,000. Taxes have been calculated at this value. How it is possible to rationalize a purchase price of $350,000 is really outrageous. This represents an property value increase of 45.8% in two years...really? The only thing that increases that fast in this town are my taxes.
Art Kuever December 14, 2012 at 05:50 PM
So, I guess the two independent appraisals mean nothing? I believe that everyone's town value is less than market value. If I were to sell my house, I would not be looking at the town evaluation, I would be looking at the appraisals to determine worth.
Kirk Carr December 14, 2012 at 06:53 PM
Yes. This home was built in 1800 on the farm of David LeBarron who was a Minuteman and responded to the Lexington Alarm in 1775 and was present when the shot heard 'round the world was fired. His son, Solomon, married Zada Hull in November of 1800 and may have been its first resident. Solomon was also a Revolutionary War veteran, enlisting at the age of 16 toward the end of the conflict in 1882 and served for 8 months and 10 days. The farm passed to his son James and to his grandson and David's great grandson, Newton. The home remained in the family for 143 years, when Newton sold it to Carl Swan who owned it for 4 years then selling it to Frederick Opps who 9 years later sold it to Warren Richards. Richards sold the 1800 home portion of the farm to Mr. and Mrs. Roger Williams in 1957. When Jerry Vece, the Morgan Building Committee Chair was asked about its disposition, the first option mentioned was demolition. You can see that exchange on YouTube at: http://youtu.be/wcOOWz4K8F4
Art Kuever December 14, 2012 at 07:21 PM
Mr. Vece also said that they have not had any more discussions on what to do with the house and the other options were to possibly relocate on the property or have someone come in and move it. So, let us give the entire story not just the phrase that supports your argument. Just because this home has history, it does not make it historic. Has it been maintained as a historic home? Almost every historic home in these parts have similar history and I bet George Washington slept there too. There have been other older homes that have been demolished because they were not properly maintained and had no value. Now, there are people that want to purchase and "part out" homes like this so other homes that are being kept historic can have the wood or beams or anything else that will help them keep their homes period time pieces. Maybe this is the destiny of this home.
Art Kuever December 14, 2012 at 10:56 PM
I really do hope that they can move this home to somewhere on the property or maybe incorporate it. Make the home - offices and use the barn and such as the building to house the equipment that needs to be stored. I heard there was supposed to be house built "in kind" across from the police station in front of the condos, move it there. This should not be a battle, I think we would all like to see this house and all of its' history kept alive.
MrsSmithWatchingWashington December 14, 2012 at 11:10 PM
So, why aren't we moving this house and selling it? Or using it?
Kirk Carr December 14, 2012 at 11:30 PM
If you missed the meeting a video of the entire sordid mess is at: http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=2a_UIWKPozw The registrar of voters did validate people as they arrived but provided no identification for validated voters. The elected moderator didn't moderate but participated, including making a motion for a hand vote over a motion for a paper ballot vote. An improper resolution to purchase property without a price was permitted to be considered. Watch the video and weep at the lapses in democratic procedure. Autocracy ends badly as will this one.
Kirk Carr December 14, 2012 at 11:37 PM
Thanks Art. On this we can agree. Can you give the CTA credit for doing the research and for raising a legitimate concern we have in common? If you watch the video, it includes Vece's full answer. He offered other options, but the first was demolition.
Huskyfan December 17, 2012 at 12:36 AM
Glen- Most real estate sites have data bases that are filled with information from town records. This house was sold for $240 back in 2010, its even been assessed for town taxes at $188K last year (2011). This house was overpaid for big time. If you dont believe me look at the site, and if you dont believe the site then look up your own house and it will show what you paid for it and how much you paid for txes last year. My house showed how much I paid for it exactly and also exactly how much I paid in taxes. Once again this is all public town records for sourcing. http://www.trulia.com/property/1095634086-69-Killingworth-Tpke-69A-Clinton-CT-06413 Where are the ethics when it comes to dealing with the tax payers money? This should never have been paid for at $350K and just like the Richards property it was overpaid for.
Debbie Lundgren December 17, 2012 at 06:33 PM
Yes, I, too, hope the old homestead can be saved, even more so after hearing of its interesting history. I haven't had the privilege of seeing the inside of that house, but my neighbor has been in it, and she said that the original features have been beautifully maintained. I watched the YouTube exchange, and it sounds like the Morgan Building Committee would certainly be open to other options besides demolition, once they know there is interest in saving it.


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