Prince George Board Approves Land Purchase
By Sarah Steele Wilson
Jul 13, 2012, 12:28
In separate two to three votes, the Prince George County Board of Supervisors voted to purchase the Buren property and enter into a purchase agreement on an adjacent 123.75 acre piece of land.
The $1.5 million Buren property sparked controversy earlier this year as county residents protested its purchase. The land is adjacent to the existing county complex and could be connected to existing utilities. Supervisors in favor of the purchase said it would be an ideal location for a new court house or playing fields.
Last night’s vote finalized the purchase of the property. Supervisors Bill Gandel and Bill Robertson voted against it.
Gandel and Robertson also voted against entering into a purchase agreement on the 123.75 acre land adjacent to the Buren Property.
The foreclosed upon land is now owned by Virginia National Bank and is on sale for $239,000 while the appraised value is $370,000.
“I’d be all for it if we hadn’t bought the Buren property,” Robertson said.
“We can’t build a courthouse or enough ball fields to cover that,” he added.
Purchases that exceed one percent of the total county budget, as the Buren property did, require a public hearing by state law, while purchases that do not exceed one percent of the budget do not require a public hearing.
Speaking after the meeting, Supervisor Alan Carmichael said that without the purchase of the Buren property, the adjacent piece of land was only accessible by a 50 foot easement from a subdivision.
He said that the purchase of the land would ensure that future boards will have locations near public water and sewer for building needs.
“We don’t have to go land shopping again,” he said.
Carmichael said the board was trying to consider needs that might arise years down the road.
“We’ve got enough land now to carry us way into the future,” he said.
The subject of a proposed toll plaza on I-95 in Sussex County near it’s border with Prince George prompted concern from supervisors, who are worried it might have a negative effect on the county.
“I feel like it will have a detrimental effect on our economic development,” Robertson said.
Economic Development Director Jeff Stoke agreed with that assessment, noting that trucks travelling between Rolls-Royce and the Boeing factory in South Carolina would be tolled.
Robertson also expressed concern that vehicles might leave the interstate, bypassing the tolls and weigh station on I-95 by traveling on Rt. 301 through Prince George, creating wear and tear on that road.
Supervisor Jerry Skalsky said he would take the board’s opposition to the proposed tolls to a meeting of the Tri-Cities Metropolitan Planning Organization on Thursday.
The board also voted to name the access road leading into Appomattox Regional Park FOLAR Trail, in honor of the Friends of the Lower Appomattox organization, and amend ordinances to allow the removal of tall grass and weeds from developed property and to define discarded materials left on lots as an “unsafe condition,” subject to a penalty.