Board OK’s purchase of property

BAKERSVILLE – Mitchell County will enter into a contract to purchase three adjacent parcels of property in Ledger. 

The Mitchell County Board of Commissioners made the decision official at a special meeting Tuesday, Sept. 9, after discussion about the property in closed session. Commissioner Steve Pitman made a motion to enter into a purchase contract with landowners Paul Greene and his wife, Karen Greene, and Roger Wilson and his wife, Margaret Wilson.

The three properties, which are across the street from the Mitchell County Schools Central Office and the Mitchell County Senior Center, combine to total 16.3 acres. In addition to the Greene and Wilson properties, the contract also includes a portion of real estate condemned for the right of way for NC Highway 226.

The county must pay the $450,000 purchase price in full at closing. The county has a 90-day period to inspect the property and perform a geotechnical site test to determine the ability of the soil to bear weight without substantial reinforcement or subsurface water removal. 

During the 90-day period, the county will also consult qualified engineers and technicians to identify the correct boundaries of the real estate and locate wetlands or stream buffers, which could limit the development of the area. 

The county will pay the full cost of all tests and surveys. If the real estate fails to meet any of the conditions set forth by the county, the county will have the option to withdraw from the contract and cancel the purchase. 

Pitman’s motion to move forward with the purchase was seconded by Commissioner Jeff Harding and passed unanimously. 

The Greene and Wilson properties have previously been discussed in the context of the county’s new school project. Mitchell County School Board member Brenda Sparks has been a vocal proponent of building the new school there instead of the approved site, also on Ledger School Road past the Senior Center and right before Mitchell High School. 

Since the new school plans have already been drawn up at the approved location, changing it would carry significant additional cost including new site preparation and architect fees. 

Harding and the commissioners affirm the land purchase will be for “future development of Mitchell County” and Harding added if the school board is interested in using the land, there can be discussions about that when the time is right. 

“The land is in a good location with city water, sewer and natural gas,” Harding said. “There is access off the major highway.”

Harding cited uncertainty over other county facilities including a jail, a sheriff’s office and a recreation center. The land, he said, is expected to help the county address needs. 

“We realize we’ve got some needs,” Harding said. “It’s time we start spending some money to give our citizens some better opportunities.”

The MItchell News

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