County trims land's asking price


By Jon Hawley
Staff Writer

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Pasquotank County is now hoping to get $600,000 for the properties it owns in Currituck County, or about half as much as it first sought.

County commissioners voted Monday to extend the closing date on one property and reduce the price on another. The properties are 102 and 104 Lark Drive, vacant lots that total almost 4 acres at the Moyock Commons business plaza.

Commissioners voted in April to sell 102 Lark Drive to Robert and Denise Clarke for $200,000. Citing the need for planning approvals from Currituck, the Clarkes asked the county to push the Aug. 27 closing back by 45 days. Commissioners accepted that request.

The Clarkes are apparently considering building a pet store on the property. Currituck Planning Director Laurie LoCicero wrote in an email Monday that she's received no site plan for the property, but “our staff spoke to people interested in putting a pet store on the property.”

As for 104 Lark Drive, commissioners agreed to reduce the county’s asking price from $700,000 to $400,000.

“It's way overpriced,” County Manager Sparty Hammett told commissioners in recommending the lower asking price, citing his review with County Attorney Mike Cox of comparable properties.

Cox added the taxable value for the property is about $290,000, and there are many similar parcels available in the area.

Commissioner Jeff Dixon suggested it was an oversight that commissioners hadn't reduced the price already. Commissioner Frankie Meads added that $400,000 was still “asking a lot” for the property.

Hammett responded that, at $400,000, the property should at least generate some interest.

With the price set at “$700,000, they're just shaking their heads,” Hammett said.

With commissioners' action Monday, Pasquotank is now hoping to get $600,000 for both Lark Drive properties, or just over half the $1.16 million sought when the properties first went on the market in spring of 2017.

The property at 104 Lark Drive has “restrictive covenants” against certain kinds of businesses there. County officials reported last year that the property's developer agreed to put those covenants on properties at Moyock Commons to attract the Food Lion store. Food Lion has to approve allowing food businesses there — though restaurants are generally allowed — and the covenants also restrict other businesses such as theaters, child care centers and stores selling alcohol.