OTISFIELD — At least nine leaseholders at Heniger Park have asked for an environmental review of their property, said Hal Ferguson, chairman of the town’s board of selectmen.

The inspections, which begin Monday, are being done to ensure the lots are environmentally clean before they sign off on 99-year lease agreements with 36 leaseholders in the park.

The inspections include an environmental review and a separate septic inspection, said Ferguson, who briefly updated fellow board members at Wednesday night’s meeting.

Ferguson told the Sun Journal on Thursday that Michelle Windsor from the Oxford County Soil and Water Conservation District in Paris has been hired to do the site inspection of the grounds for the town. She will be looking for any type of environmental hazard, such as runoff that is going into Pleasant Lake. She will also review the condition of the town-owned Heniger Park Road.

The town will pay for the cost of the environmental inspection at $100 per lot, but leaseholders will be responsible for any environmental condition that needs to be fixed, other than problems that the town is responsible for.

Ferguson said, for example, a few culverts on the road need to be fixed and may be causing runoff into the lake. That would be the town’s responsibility.

Ferguson said most of the leaseholders do not have septic systems and leach fields, but many have holding tanks, which are pumped out occasionally and are not expected to be a problem.

A soil scientist at Portland-based Mark Hampton Associates has been hired to do the septic inspections at an as-yet-unknown cost to the town. Remedial action, if any is required, will be the responsibility of the leaseholder or town, depending on the problem.

If any conditions are identified, the leaseholder has until Sept. 30, 2015, to correct them.

If the deadline is missed, the leaseholder will no longer be eligible for the 99-year lease.

The Heniger Park Association has asked that a representative be present during the inspections. The town will have Code Enforcement Officer Richard St. John present to protect its interest in the property.

The 36 leaseholders are now reviewing the terms of the lease — including the environmental study and the mandate that they have a minimum $400,000 insurance on the property — as they consider whether or not to sign new leases.

“We want to make sure it’s right,” Ferguson said of the remaining work that needs to be done to conclude the four to five year discussion and debate over what to do with the 37 lots (including one undeveloped town lot) once the leases expire.

Ferguson said it looks “good” at this time for at least a majority of the leaseholders to sign up for the 99-year lease.

“We’re getting close,” he said of the conclusion of the process.

The agreement with the town provides a guarantee for leaseholders that their camps will be available to their families for the next century.

Selectmen said the new 99-year leases will increase the tax base at Heniger Park from $10,000 to $98,000 annually, based on the current tax rate of $12 per $1,000 of assessed value.

The lease agreements must be signed and returned to the Town Office by April 30, 2015, and will be effective July 1, 2015, unless environmental conditions must be remediated.

Those who do not accept the agreement will have leases extended to no longer than 2040, but those terms could change at any time under a new board of selectmen.

Leaseholders, many of whom have been in their camps for decades, said the new arrangement may tax them out of their camps.

At least two leaseholders have placed their camps on the market.

The 100-acre parcel of mostly wooded land on Pleasant Lake was left to the town in 1943 by noted Broadway producer Jacob Heniger. His will stipulated that selectmen decide what would be done with the real estate.

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