City officials agreed to sell about a third of an acre off the city property near the police and fire stations at the City Council meeting Monday, Dec. 27.
The sale has been discussed by city officials with Fred Johnson, property owner, for several months. Johnson owns a piece of land and storage building on the highway frontage just northeast of the police station and wanted to exchange property from the back of his property to the front so he could increase the highway frontage to make the property a "proper commercial lot," he said. "I would pay the city $30,000 for that small piece of land."
Mayor Jackie Crabtree reminded council members they had approved the concept once an appraisal had been done.
Fire Chief Jared Powell expressed concerns about egress for fire apparatus and about the landing zone for the medical helicopter. He said the fire hose are also stretched out on the driveway from the station to Slack Street when tested.
"I'm taking 20 feet off back of property I own and giving that to city and giving back to road where you bring fire trucks out," Johnson said. "I've asked Shane (Perry, city attorney) to write up shared usage agreement... I would pay city $30,000 for that small piece of land."
Council member Ginger Larsen asked about the previous discussion about exchanging property.
"We did at first," Johnson said, "There's no exchange of property this time."
Crabtree said the city will still own the driveway.
Perry said that since the project was initially discussed he has "developed a conflict of interest" and will stand by the advice he gave two or three months ago that was to have a stipulation for the city to be able to buy back the property if it is not developed within a reasonable amount of time.
"We need to give Mr. Johnson the opportunity to redevelop," he said, adding that the property is not currently being used for its highest and best use. "I think there's a lot of value to the city to talk about a building lot that has become stale."
"The land he has today is not big enough for redevelopment; he needs more land, more frontage, ingress/egress," Perry said. "It's good for city for that building to get torn down and redeveloped... That's a prominent corner in our community."
Real estate agent Mike Adams asked what the value would be in taking that "sliver" of property back.
"It gives an incentive to whoever has the property to actually do what they say is going to be done," Perry said.
Council member Cody Keene said there are too many utilities to straighten the access road. He added: "It's not generating the city anything right now, it would, no brainer to go ahead and move forward. Let's sell and let you get the property developed."
Larsen voted against the sale; Keene, Steve Guthrie and Merrill White voted in favor of it.
Perry recommended a "knowing waiver" if he were to look over the document. White said that whether Perry or another attorney were to review it, it would cost the city, so Perry recommended having another attorney to review it "so we have 100% transparency."