Portland Water District trustees will vote next month on selling 123 acres on Chaffin Pond to the town of Windham for $385,000 as part of a complex deal involving a landowner who wants to build a motel nearby.

Martin Lippman says he will reimburse the town for the property if it allows him to use 10 of the 123 acres to help offset sewer density calculations when he develops his 8-acre property on nearby Route 302.

As part of the deal, Lippman wants the town to use the land as a park and name it after his wife, Donnabeth Lippman.

Lippman owns property at 885 and 889 Roosevelt Trail — Route 302 in Windham — and has commercial properties in other states.

He said Thursday that he wants to develop his land to build a motel, a restaurant similar to Applebee’s, and a breakfast diner. Representatives from Best Western, Holiday Inn Express and Marriott hotels have visited the site, but no agreement has been reached.

“Windham needs a first-class motel,” he said. “They have all come to look at the site, but right now they are not willing to invest because of the economy.”

Lippman pitched his proposal to the Town Council on Oct. 26. The council voted 5-0 to buy the land from the Portland Water District. Councilor John Mac-Kinnon was absent and did not vote.

The property on Chaffin Pond is one of the largest pieces of undeveloped land in Windham. The town has leased it from the Portland Water District for the past 10 years. Recently, the district’s trustees decided to sell it and gave the town an option to buy.

Town officials plan to use $297,500 from Windham’s recreation fund to pay most of the cost. That would drain the fund, but it could be replenished, Town Manager Tony Plante said Thursday.

“There are a lot of things that still need to be worked out,” he said. “All we have is a generous idea that has been put out there. We have to work out how that would work with Mr. Lippman for the development of his property, and for the town’s continued use of that perpetual acreage.”

Councilor Peter Busque said Lippman’s proposal is a win-win for the town. “The town gets a free 123 acres with a pond. It’s a no-brainer. We will finally have a real park.”

In Wawarsing, N.Y., Lippman gave the town a large piece of property with the condition that it be used for a park. Lippman Park is now used for recreational activities like mountain biking, and it has picnic areas and walking trails.

 

Staff Writer Melanie Creamer can be contacted at 791-6361 or at: mcr[email protected]