Archived Story

Two sides way apart on value of property

Published 9:22am Friday, June 7, 2013

A more than $1.5 million difference in two appraisals of some acreage at the Lawrence County Airport is another reason at least one Lawrence County Commissioner wants to come up with an agreement that could end an impending lawsuit and put the land up for sale.

On Thursday all three commissioners will meet with Richard Wilson and his attorney to resolve an eminent domain lawsuit the commission filed more than a year ago against Wilson. Through that lawsuit the commissioners want to acquire 47 acres at either end of the Chesapeake airport, currently owned by Wilson and his family.

Recently an appraiser for the Wilson family said the 47 acres is worth $1.8 million. But the county’s appraiser has put the value of the property at $280,000.

“What if we go to court and they say you have to pay $1 million,” Commission President Bill Pratt said. “The county doesn’t have a $1 million.”

Adding the acreage to the airport was to comply with Federal Aviation Administration regulations to provide an adequate approach to the air strips including trimming or removing trees at the ends of the runways.

However since then Bill Pratt has actively sought to find an avenue that would allow the county to develop the entire airport property commercially, which has long been the goal of Wilson.

To do that the commission and the Wilson family have to come to a financial arrangement that would enable the county to agree to stop using the land as an airport.

In the late 1930s members of the Wilson and C.L. Ritter families deeded land to the county for the creation of an airport with the stipulation that the land could only be used as such. Should the county shut down the airport for a period of one year, the property would revert back to the heirs of the original conveyors.

However Commissioner Les Boggs is approaching the meeting with a different intent.

“My focus as commissioner is not to go up there with the distinct purpose of trying to sell the airport,” Boggs said. “Mine is to try to resolve issues that are currently in hand with the lawsuit and also to look at what would be best suited for the future of the airport, not necessarily with the focus of selling it.”

But Pratt sees a shopping venue on the site as a way to improve the finances of the county and increase jobs and strengthen the local economy.

“We are trying to make something happen,” Pratt said.

  • Jackyl

    Your right Diji when the county wants money they get our property appraised way to high , when they want something they get and appraisal that is way to low , par for the course ,

    (Report comment)

  • Poor Richard

    Pratt has already made up his mind, I think that is obvious. The county may not have $1M cash but I doubt commissioners have even checked into the possibly of receiving state or federal monies, because, well, commissioners don’t check on, reseach, conduct feasibility studies or plan as we are all very aware. Boggs seems to have a much more realistic approach, and Hayes, well, who the heck knows where he is.

    Real Estate apprasial is done by comparing the sale price of surrounding properties that have already sold. You don’t get to pull a rabbit out of a hat, we don’t live in Columbus or Cleveland. Properties here sell much differently and appraisers don’t get to make up prices off the top of their head because it is what the owners want. The owners are likely going in rather high so they can come down in negotiations and they can still reach their goal price, can’t exactly start low and up the price. The county should fight, I’ve looked at other properties in the area, I doubt they will get anything over $400,000. Again, Pratt is not willing to entertain that possibility since he has already made up his mind.

    WHEN ARE THE PUBLIC MEETINGS SCHEDULED, COMMISSIONER PRATT? THIS IS A COUNTY AIRPORT NOT THE PERSONAL PROPERTY OF COMMISSIONER PRATT? WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO SAY ABOUT THE ALREADY EMPTY STRIP MALLS IN THE COUNTY, COMMISSIONER PRATT? HOW MUCH TAX MONEY PER YEAR WOULD THE COUNTY MAKE ON THIS STRIP MALL, I MEAN, I AM SURE YOU HAVE THE NUMBERS IF YOU ARE BASING YOUR DECISION ON THAT CRITERIA. HOW MUCH TAX MONEY PER YEAR WOULD THE COUNTY RECEIVE IF THE STRIP MALL WAS EMPTY, SURELY WE HAVE THE NUMBERS FOR THAT TOO??????? WHO IS THE DEVELOPER, I MEAN, WITHOUT A DEVELOPER TO PAY FOR A STRIP MALL THERE WOULD BE NO STRIP MALL, WHO IS THE DEVELOPER?? IS THAT THE REASON FOR THE RUSH, MOVE THE PLANES OUT SO THE DEVELOPER CAN MOVE IN? WHAT ARE THE NUMBERS, COMMISSIONER PRATT????

    (Report comment)

  • Digi

    Of course the count’s appraiser will be MUCH lower than the landowners! Does that surprise you? I wish they would appraise that low on tax appraisals! Wake up folks, it’s the county wanting a lot for almost nothing and it’s backfiring on them, cause Pratt’s right a judge can say you have to pay the one million price, and the county can’t make that.

    (Report comment)

    • Digi

      I don’t think we need a half vacant strip mall either up there though.

      (Report comment)

Editor's Picks

Fundraiser set for Coal Grove teen

COAL GROVE — A community-wide effort to win Devyn Pritchard a wheelchair accessible van from a National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association contest fell short earlier ... Read more

Special needs camp teaches bike-riding

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — The father didn’t want anyone to see, so he tried to casually brush them away. But the tears that welled in his ... Read more

Antique equipment shows off history

Ohio lies in a unique position within the United States, with part of the state situated in the Mid-West and the southeastern portion of the ... Read more

Unexpected heroes

Passersby help people trapped in burning house   Heroes don’t always wear capes, uniforms or badges. They aren’t always scanning the skies, or roaming alleyways ... Read more