Sharon water officials propose buying an undevelopable parcel for $10,000 to better protect Sharon's Well No. 6 and avoid potentially moving a town water main off the site.
Some neighbors question the town's motives, saying the site would benefit AT&T's proposed wireless communications tower nearby on East Foxboro Street.
The proposed transaction is on the May 7 annual town meeting warrant.
The issue will be on the March 20 selectmen's agenda, Town Administrator Benjamin Puritz said.
Town Engineer Peter O'Cain told the finance committee Monday night that the Wolomolopoag Street parcel's owner wants Sharon to buy his property for $10,000.
The owner pays about $13,000 in taxes on the land, which Sharon had appraised at $8,000 a few years ago, O'Cain said.
The land became undevelopable when the Wolomolopoag Street Bridge was built, splitting the site up, the town engineer said. The current owner's father approached the town at one point about Sharon acquiring it, he said.
"It's the only parcel around Well No. 6 that the town doesn't own," O'Cain said.
A Sharon water main is on the site, too, and "the owner can ask us to move or remove" it, O'Cain said.
Sharon could acquire the land by land taking, but "that's an aggressive action that the town tries to avoid, if possible," he said.
However, East Foxboro Street resident Rich Reynolds questioned the timing, given that the zoning board of appeals is expected to vote on March 14 on requests related to AT&T's cell tower proposal.
"Can we be reassured that nothing will be built there, like a cell tower pad or a road to a cell tower?" Reynolds asked.
Puritz said he can explore a deed restriction with town counsel.
The proposed land deal "has nothing to do with a cell tower, in any shape or form," Puritz said.
Public Works Superintendent Eric Hooper said the $10,000 would come from either his current budget or next year's budget, depending on when the deal was completed.