More on Canco Woods: Could the neighbors buy the woods?

Here’s a little follow-up to the story I wrote this past week on Canco Woods, a nearly 13-acre wooded lot the neighbors worry will soon be developed according to its light industrial zoning. The property, which area residents have used for outdoor recreation for decades, is now up for sale, as owner Central Maine Power Co. no longer needed it (the electric company had originally acquired the lot several years ago in case it wanted to expand its abutting facility).

One of the Torrey Street neighbors quoted in the story, Danielle Vayenas, who first saw the “For Sale” signs on the property and soon thereafter first saw that it’s under contract, reached out to me after the story ran to point out that a group of like-minded area residents would indeed be interested in trying to pool their resources and purchase the woods if the current deal falls through.

(The feedback absorbed by the neighbors after the story was published included some folks posing the question: If you want it protected so badly, why didn’t you buy it? Well, here’s the answer: They’ll try if they get a chance.)

The pricetag on the property is listed at $350,000, and the neighbors expressed to me that they were under the impression that the Portland Land Bank Commission or Portland Trails would get a chance to make an offer on the lot for conservation purposes before the woods changes hands.

If there’s indeed a sale pending, whoever that sale is pending with does not have to defer to any conservation group, and even if there had been an informal admission somewhere along the line on the seller’s part that reaching out to conservation groups would be a good idea, CMP certainly wasn’t obligated to do so.

But the assumption that a land trust of some kind might get a crack at the property before the sale process went too far along is a reasonable explanation of why the neighbors didn’t already rally together a proposal before now. According to Vayenas, the sign posted went from “For Sale” to “Sale Pending” in just a couple days.

If it goes back to “For Sale” for whatever reason, it sounds like the neighbors will see what they can get together for an offer.

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Seth Koenig

About Seth Koenig

Seth has nearly a decade of professional journalism experience and writes about the greater Portland region.