Thursday, Feb. 7, 2008

Bill Moxley Road property appraisal comes in low

Town to contact owner to negotiate price

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Mount Airy council members asked the town’s lawyer to contact the owner of land they are considering for ball fields after its appraisal came in below the asking price.

The appraisal values the 75-acre property at a little more than half of the owner’s $3 million price tag, and the town is looking to negotiate.

It places the fair value of the property at $1.6 million, said Councilman Gary Nelson at Monday’s Town Council meeting.

‘‘This is a pretty thorough report,” said Nelson, liaison to the Parks and Recreation Committee.

Nelson expected Lynn Board, the town’s attorney, to contact legal representation for Jim Frye, who owns the property, within ‘‘the next few days” to see if he would consider lowering the price.

The slump in the housing market was one factor that lowered the property’s value, Nelson states in his written review of the appraisal to the council.

Councilwoman Wendi Peters said she received questions from the public wondering why the town was looking to purchase land when it already had 88 acres available at the town’s Windy Ridge park. Peters said she would like that question addressed if the town continues pursuing the other property.

Council members decided to contact property owner Jim Frye to see if he would adjust his selling price based on the appraisal, before the town invests more time researching if the price is not going to come down.

The property being discussed is about one mile from town limits off of Md. Route 144 at 4270 Bill Moxley Road in Frederick County and the town’s Board of Parks and Recreation has been working on assessing its possibility for a sports complex.

Bill Moxley Road residents and sports representatives attended a Jan. 22 joint meeting between the Board of Parks and Recreation and the Beautification Commission at which the property was discussed and voiced concerns about how putting ball fields at the location would impact traffic on a road that they said is already prone to speeding.

Spillover noise and lighting onto surrounding properties were also concerns.

The property’s location and the fact that it has space for parking were some of the reasons the property is being considered for athletic fields.

The appraisal was done as part of an option contract that the town entered with the landowner last year. The land is not contiguous with the town, and to annex it, the town would need to obtain permission from landowners who live between the property and the town border.