Valley council approves purchase of four properties at cost of more than $900,000

Published 10:30 am Wednesday, August 30, 2023

VALLEY — At its Monday meeting, the Valley City Council approved the purchase of four parcels of property for more than $900,000. Two of the parcels are near the Fairfax Mill site while the other two are located off Highway 29 and Sheridan Street.

The two tracts near the mill site are being purchased from Boulevard LLC for $275,000. Mayor Leonard Riley said during the recent cleanup of the mill site, permission was asked of the property owner if work could go onto their land, but the owner said no. The city is purchasing the two sites in case the land will be redeveloped into some kind of public use, such as a city park.

“This will be welcomed by everyone on Boulevard,” said Council Member Jim Jones, who made a motion for it to be approved on a first reading. Both that motion and the motion to approve the purchase were approved in unanimous votes.

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The city was the high bidder in a recent auction for the properties off US 29 and Sheridan Street. The site off Highway 29 is approximately 43 acres in size and is being sold for just under $354,000. County Attorney Claud “Skip” McCoy is the authorized agent in the purchase in an unsettled court case, Lee Trammell Smith, Sr., et al v. Robert Finlay. The property off Sheridan Street is just under 30 acres in size and is being purchased from Lee Trammell Smith Sr. and Francis Stephen Smith for a little less than $280,000.

Some of the land purchased at the recent auction is outside the city limits. As the new property owner, the city can bring it into the city.

The purchase actions were approved in unanimous votes.

In other action, the city is practically giving away some property off Huguley Road for the purpose of building some new housing. An 8.9-acre tract and an 8.3-acre tract are being conveyed to the Chambers County Development Authority (CCDA) for the nominal sum of $10. The CCDA, in turn, will donate the land to the Chambers County Circle of Care Center for Families. In a letter to the council backing the proposed agreement, CCDA Executive Director Valerie Gray wrote that two primary purposes are at stake here: (1) to have a prepared and skilled workforce for the employers of Chambers County and (2) providing skills training and assistance for county residents who are entering the workforce.

The CCDA is partnering wth the Circle of Care. Due to the increase of single mothers with children finding themselves homeless and having an extended waiting period to get into public housing, the Circle has the goal of developing a transitional housing program. Following an extensive screening program, these single-parent families will be provided housing, so long as they are compliant with the program, which will include intensive case management services, parenting and relationship skill development, counseling and job training.

The goal is to build Fuller Center-style housing on these sites.

The council held second readings and approved two rezoning requests. No one spoke in opposition to the requests at recent public hearings. One request is for a 19.4-acre site at the end of 26th Avenue.

The owner wanted to change the present zoning from R-2 (medium-density residential district) to FAR (Forestry-Agriculture-Recreation). The second request was for a 2.5-acre site off Ben Brown Road, immediately behind the Triangle service station. The owner wanted to change the zoning designation from C-2 (local business district) to RR (rural residential district) for the purpose of building a house.

The council approved an annual lease agreement the city has with the Fifth Judicial Circuit Multi-Jurisdictional Drug Task Force, which uses approximately 3,,000 square feet of the Public Works building on Fairfax Bypass. The rent is $300 per month.

In other discussion, Amy Messer was present at the meeting to invite everyone to the annual Unite Valley Day. This multi-denominational community worship service will start at 7:45 p.m. EDT Saturday, Oct. 14 at the old Langdale tennis courts. 

“It’s a free event, and we have been doing if of four years now,” Messer said. “We want everyone to come out and to be united in Christ. There will be lots of fun things for the kids to do, free hot dogs, hamburgers and live entertainment.”

“I just hope the weather cools down before then,” Riley said.

Valley Parks & Recreation Direct or Laurie Blount said that fall sports registration is complete and that youth football games should start the second week in September. The fall hours for Valley Community Center will be 7 a.m. until 4 p.m.

Council Member Jim Clark thanked the community for the many expressions of sympathy in the recent passing of his wife’s brother, Buster Milner.

Council Member Marquetta Madden thanked everyone who voted for her in a recent people’s choice award she received in The Valley Times-News. She was voted the area’s favorite council representative.