Wilton selectmen agree to facilitate $1.1 million property transfer

The property at 647 Danbury Road will be transferred from the state to Hoffman Landscapes through the Town of Wilton for a total of more than $1.1 million.

The property at 647 Danbury Road will be transferred from the state to Hoffman Landscapes through the Town of Wilton for a total of more than $1.1 million.

Contributed Photo / Google Maps

WILTON — The town has agreed to facilitate a transfer of land between the state and Hoffman Landscapes worth more than $1.1 million.

Hoffman Landscapes has been a “longtime tenant” at 647 Danbury Road and has “wanted to purchase the building,” First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice said Monday. Since the state cannot outright sell the property to the private company, the issue was brought before the town to intervene and facilitate a deal between the two parties.

Nicholas Bamonte, who works with the town attorney’s office, came before the selectmen last August to update the board on a potential deal. Part of the selectmen’s initial concern, he said, was the possibility of previous contamination when the state used the property as “some sort of garage.”

The hesitancy, Bamonte said, was “OK, we’ll play ball here, but if the town is going to be middlemanning this property, should we be concerned about some sort of liability, environmentally or otherwise?”

In response to that concern raised by the selectmen, Bamonte said the town has received a phase one environmental study from Hoffman Landscapes, as well as “an indeminification agreement,” signed last week, “and effectively would absolve the town from any liability going forward.”

According to Bamonte, the property falls into the category of “minimal, if any risk” from a liability perspective due to the state working with its tenant, Hoffman Landscapes, to ensure that remediation “occurred to its satisfaction.”

“So with that, plus the indemnification agreement, I feel comfortable recommending to this board that the town shouldn’t be concerned about liability going forward during these transfers,” Bamonte told the selectmen at their last meeting.

Upon unanimous approval at the selectmen’s last meeting, the town will now pay a one-time $1,000 administrative cost, which Hoffman Landscapes will reimburse along with the attorney fees. Hoffman Landscapes will also pay the town for the property, which the town will transfer to the state. The property will then go from the state to the town and ultimately to Hoffman Landscapes.

“I think we are still looking months out as far as the town actually taking the title,” Bamonte said, noting that the state will have to run this past a few more agencies.

Once the town has the deed in hand, the transaction for the property with Hoffman can be facilitated and the longtime tenant will finally take ownership of the building and accompanying land on Danbury Road.

“We are thrilled that this is moving forward,” Vanderslice said at the last selectmen’s meeting. “It’s been quite some time since we first talked about it.”