Offer made to purchase Ahoskie property

Published 6:39 pm Friday, December 17, 2021

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AHOSKIE – What to do with two parcels of town-owned property will warrant further discussion here next month.

At their regularly scheduled monthly meeting here Dec. 14, members of the Ahoskie Town Council learned that a town resident was interested in purchasing two lots, one on the south end of Pine Street and the other on the south end of Hill Street. Thomas Lee Mizzell offered to pay $1,000 for each lot.

The town recently laid asphalt between the two lots, creating a short right of way that linked Pine and Hill streets.

“What was done there is not really a street – by street standards – but rather a connecter, a loop, instead of having two dead end streets,” explained Town Manager Kerry McDuffie. “The town owns the lots, so we keep the grass mowed there.”

McDuffie said the tax value on the two lots is approximately $13,000. He suggested that if the Council was interested in selling the lots, they could use the upset bid process, which would start with Mizzell’s $2,000 offer.

“We would advertise in the newspaper for upset bids [higher than $2,000] and use that process until a sale is finalized by you,” McDuffie said. “You have the authority to accept or reject any bids.”

He added that Mizzell’s current offer is “significantly less than the tax value.”

“I have some serious concerns about selling those lots for $2,000,” McDuffie stressed. “But it’s up to you on how to move forward.”

McDuffie said Mizzell’s intentions were to build a duplex or triplex on those lots.

“The upside to that is it creates rental housing and tax base,” the Town Manager noted. “The downside is we’ll lose the ability to connect those two dead end streets.”

Councilwoman Jamie Burns asked if this issue could be addressed at a pending workshop in January.

“Sure, I don’t know what Mr. Mizzell’s timeframe is on this, but we have no timeframe from the town’s perspective,” McDuffie replied.

“It sounds like it would be an advantage to building on those lots because of the added tax base and you give someone a place to live,” said Councilman Charles Reynolds.

“But if we sell it, we lose the connector road,” Burns stated.

Mizzell, who attended the meeting, said there wasn’t supposed to be a road there.

“It’s not on the [town’s] street map,” he remarked.

McDuffie said he could not locate any records on when or why the town came into possession of one of the lots. He said the town purchased the other lot in the early 1980’s from the owner of Jones Lumber Company.

Mayor Weyling White agreed with Burns regarding the need for additional discussion about this issue and a workshop would be the ideal setting to do so.

The Council agreed to conduct a workshop, which they typically hold in January, at 8:30 a.m. on Jan. 28 to discuss this and other issues.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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