Members of the Emerson City Council voted unanimously Monday evening to approve a sales contract that would allow the municipality to purchase a property at 178 Fourth St.
“The property is currently a non-conforming use within the City of Emerson,” said Emerson City Manager Kevin McBurnett. “It has three primary structures upon one lot— furthermore, the location has a main trunk line sewer that runs through the front yard, where two of the structures are on top of the sewer.”
Complicating the situation, McBurnett said the sewer at the location is in a failing condition.
“We negotiated a sales price of $105,000,” he told council members. “The City’s interest in it would be to remove the structures upon it, record new easements where the sewer is and laying those easements out even further than normal so we have enough room to be able to take care of our sewer in that area.”
McBurnett said the City would use 2014 SPLOST funds to acquire the property.
“This coming on the market and us purchasing it was just kind of a surprise to us,” he said. “On one of the houses, the sewer comes all the way down the back side of it and then has a manhole at the corner and then it runs down the side of the house. And that’s a spot we go to routinely to do maintenance at.”
McBurnett said the City did not discuss any proposals to repurpose the property for local government use.
“We’re looking at it mainly for the sewer,” he said. “At this time, the only use we have is to take care of our sewer issues there, removing the non-conforming zoning use and then turn around and probably resell the property.”
He said the City anticipates closing on the property within the next two weeks. As for how soon the property may go back on the market, McBurnett estimated first quarter 2021 at the earliest.
“The fair market value on it showed to be $117,000, I believe it was,” he said.
He said the City has a contract on the property, but has not yet purchased it.
“We are still going through the due diligence process with that, and as soon as we’re done we’ll be bringing it back to the council to either go for it or cancel the contract,” he said. “My understanding is that this week they will be doing the survey on the property, and that will open up a lot of avenues for us so we can understand what we have over there.”
If the local government were to acquire the property, McBurnett said the parcel’s preferred use would be for the “police department, a City services building of some type.”