After much discussion over the past few months, the East Carbon City council sold city property to interested buyers during the city council meeting on Tuesday night.
Jeff and Ricki Palmer have been interested in buying property from the city for over a year and their quest to acquire the land may now be complete. The property was sold to the Palmers for $900 per acre with an unanimous motion from council members.
The Palmers had been attending city council and planning and zoning meetings over the last few months in their quest to purchase property from the city. However the city council said that the purchase of the land could not move forward without a survey and appraisal of the property. One problem the city ran into was that no one locally would do an appraisal of the property.
One of the questions that has been previously discussed was why the city could not take a previous appraisal of land near the property that the Palmers were looking to purchase. Councilman Andy Urbanik said at a previous meeting that the city had 120 days to perform due diligence but is interested in selling the property and was working on trying to find a fair and just price for the city.
While conducting their own research by contracting brokers and appraisers, the Palmers said the appraisers needed comparable figures from other properties in order for them to come down and appraise the property. In talking to brokers, they heard from one person that property located on Denver Avenue in East Carbon was sold for $415 per acre. Despite the near $500 difference, the Palmers said that was not a deterrent from purchasing the property they want.
Councilman David Avery said he wasn't fond of the appraisal process that the city was following in trying to sell this property. He said that the city may have set a precedence with the land that has been sold before and an appraiser may look at that when evaluating the property. Avery also noted that as long as an appraiser does not have a multiple service listing (MSL) they would have no place to get data from about properties in the area.
Avery said that cities, counties and state are offering people incentives to purchase properties and start up a business. While the city is not a position to offer those incentives, he feels that the price of the property may be the city's incentive to prospective buyers.
"Maybe that $900 is the incentive," Avery said.
"It sure is our incentive," said Jeff Palmer.
The city has three ways it can sell a property: sell the property and ask for an appraisal, put the property up for public auction or put the property up for private bid. Noting that a property can be sold if it is in the best interest of the city, Avery felt that the sale of the property to the Palmers has been justified. The city council passed a unanimous motion approving the sale of the property for four acres at a cost of $900 per acre to the Palmers.
As life long residents of East Carbon, the Palmers both felt there was a need for another storage facility, noting that another business in town, Clark Storage, is the only storage business located in the area.
Throughout the purchasing process, the Palmers felt that both the city council and the planning and zoning board were following the correct procedures but continued to go back and forth on the selling of the property and were not making any progress with the sale.
"Now we have a lot of work to do," Jeff said about the property sale being approved by the city council. He is hoping that construction on the property can begin before the end of spring.