PILOT MOUNTAIN — Town commissioners were sharply divided over the sale of a town-owned parcel of land.
The Pilot Mountain Board of Commissioners opted to sell a small piece of property located on Mountain View Drive for $500. However, the decision came only after much debate and a 2-2 vote, which Mayor Dwight Atkins was forced to break.
Town Attorney Ed Woltz told commissioners the lot was too small to be “build-able.” Thus, it was unlikely the property would attract many possible buyers other than adjoining property owners. It would be of little use to the town for any purpose other than a small park.
“When we discussed surplussing this (property) to gain revenue, I certainly expected more than $500,” said Commissioner Kim Quinn.
“We have the property. Why give it away for $500?” asked Commissioner Gary Bell.
The matter, however, wasn’t as simple as a $500 deal, explained Interim Town Manager Michael Boaz. The town has been using a neighboring property owned by Thomas and Sarah Crowson to access a pump station owned by the town.
“As you know, it came to everyone’s attention about a year ago, the town of Pilot Mountain has been accessing their pump station off Mountain View Drive by crossing over property they do not own,” wrote Thomas Crowson in an email conveying the $500 offer.
“We feel we have, with good intentions, attempted to work something out with the town and still have not come to a resolution.”
As part of the offer for the town’s parcel, which is valued at about $17,000, Boaz said the Crowsons would grant an easement allowing the town to continue using their property — legally — to access the pump station.
Without an easement, the town could be forced to access the pump station by way of cutting through its own property. Boaz noted that was possible, but Pilot Mountain would be forced to build an access-way.
In short, the matter came down to whether town officials wanted to sell the property at a nominal rate in order to gain the easement through the property already used in accessing the pump station.
Commissioners narrowly accepted the $500 offer for the property. Commissioners Bell and Laura Needham voted against the sale, while Quinn and Commissioner Cordie Armstrong voted in favor of getting the parcel off the town’s books.
Atkins broke the tie in favor of selling the property.
Woltz said the pending sale would have to be advertised for a 10-day period in which the town could receive any upset bids for the property.
Andy is a staff writer and may be reached at 415-4698.