On April 4, 2017, Shenendehowa district residents will be asked to vote on a permissive referendum to sell 34.334 acres of vacant, district-owned land for $2,050,001 to BBL who will donate half of the land to the town of Clifton Park. The vote will be held in the gymnasium at Gowana Middle School and polls will be open from 7am to 9pm.
On December 6, 2016, the Board of Education voted to accept a Request for Proposal (RFP) submitted by BBL to purchase 34.334 acres of vacant, district-owned land for $2,050,001 ($550,001 above asking price). Included in the RFP was the commitment to donate half of the land (approximately 17.5-19 acres) to the town of Clifton Park.
On January 6, 2017, petitions were delivered to the district to require a permissive referendum on the action taken by the Board of Education to sell the land to BBL. Under NYS Education Law §1804 regarding permissive referendums on the sale of land, there must be 10% of qualified voters signing the petition, they must be original signatures (no on-line signatures allowed) and all petitions (submitted and notarized as being true and accurate) must be submitted 30 calendar days after the BOE took action.
School district staff members spent the past few weeks verifying signatures for residency (address) and eligibility to vote using multiple sources including tax roll data, county voter registration and Student Information System data, as well as ensuring that there are no duplicate signatures. A total of 7,028 petitions were submitted. The district has been able to confirm 5,588 signatures with a high degree of confidence, satisfying the conditions to hold a referendum.
On January 24, 2017, the Board of Education voted to hold the permissive referendum on April 4, 2017. The Board also approved the following resolution language for the vote:
PERMISSIVE REFERENDUM PROPOSITION
RESOLVED: That the Board of Education of the Shenendehowa Central School District is hereby authorized to sell to BBL, LLC (BBL), or its wholly owned affiliate, in accordance with and as more particularly described in the Board of Education’s Resolution adopted on December 6, 2016, 34.3 acres of surplus land in the Town of Clifton Park designated by tax map number 271.-3-39.1 for a purchase price of Two Million Fifty Thousand One Dollars ($2,050,001.00), without any contingencies reserved on the part of purchaser BBL, and subject to BBL’s agreement to donate not less than seventeen and one-half (17.5) and no more than nineteen (19) acres of said land, in its original condition, to the Town of Clifton Park for the Town’s use.
BBL – $2,050,001 (map provided by BBL);
DCG – $1,529,000;
United Group – $1,125,00; and,
Town of Clifton Park – $1,000,000.
The Board of Education voted to award the RFP to BBL based on two factors:
A $2 million sale price. The minimum appraised sales price by the district was $1.5 million. The BBL proposal is $500,000 above the minimum bid amount.
Donation of approximately half of the land (17.5-19 acres) to the town of Clifton Park.
Why did the district decide to sell the property?
The district has already constructed two schools on the original parcel. Arongen was built in 1992. In 2004, the district proposed building Shatekon on this land because it owned the property and state aid reimbursement to the district was maximized (saving taxpayers money)by attaching it to an existing school (Arongen). After completing Shatekon, the surplus property was deemed to be too expensive to construct a third facility.
When did the district decide to sell the property?
Ten years ago, the district’s Futures Committee recognized Halfmoon as the fastest growing town within the district. Based on this, it recommended selling this property and using the proceeds to purchase land in Halfmoon to possibly build the next school based on growth patterns.
Was this the first RFP to sell the property?
The district had two separate RFP processes which were advertised in the newspapers, the website and social media. In 2015, the board issued the first RFP and received one proposal from DCG for $1.7 million for the 34 acres. However, DCG rescinded their offer before the Board could vote on their proposal. The second RFP was issued in August 2016. Four proposals were submitted and the Board accepted the proposal submitted by BBL on December 6.
As illustrated on the map (http://www.shenet.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/RFP-Land-Sale-Map.pdf), there is a designated, wooded buffer between the Shatekon field and the property to be sold.
BBL has not disclosed its intended use for the land other than to say that it will be in compliance with what the land is zoned for by the Town of Clifton Park.
When the town of Clifton Park began the process to rezone the property to what is now TC3-Commercial, the district had two independent appraisals conducted (September 2014 and January 2015) to render an opinion of market value in connection with future negotiations of marketing the property to potential buyers. Both appraisers concluded the site is functional for development. Click here for the two (2) Appraisal Reports.
The permissive referendum is only to authorize the specific sale of the property to BBL. If the land is not sold, it remains the school district’s land.