Council seeking residential appraisal for Norris Street property

Thursday, March 14, 2019

The Eureka Springs City Council is hoping to sell a piece of property on Norris Street.

On Monday night, the council heard from Mayor Butch Berry about the property, which had been used as a doctor's office for years. The council briefly considered renovating the property as a city meeting space but chose to renovate the downstairs of The Auditorium instead.

Berry said Monday night he had a commercial appraisal done on the property, saying it came in at $114,000. Alderwoman Melissa Greene asked if the council is still considering selling the property, and Berry recommended getting a residential appraisal done before moving forward with that.

"There were issues with it even being a commercial structure because it's grandfathered use in a residential zone," Berry said. "I can go ahead and see about getting another appraisal on the residential use and we'll see what the cost is. I don't know what it's going to appraise, but it seems awful low."

Greene agreed.

"That was an extremely low appraisal," she said. "I don't see it viable for anything but residential now. It would be a smart decision to entertain the thought of selling it and using the money for The Auditorium. Putting our meeting rooms down there would be an excellent use of this property and something we need to explore."

Alderwoman Susan Harman moved to get a residential appraisal on the property, and alderman Terry McClung said he disagreed with that idea.

"Another real estate appraisal, I don't think, will do any good," McClung said. "If we want to sell it, we can put it out for bid and we can accept or reject any and all bids."

"That's true," Berry said. "We have to have a bidding process."

"If that's what we want to do, let the market dictate what it is," McClung said. "I don't think there's any reason to go out and spend any more money on an appraisal."

Harman withdrew her motion, and Greene said she saw the value of getting a residential appraisal.

"I'd like to take the chance to spend money and get another appraisal for residential to see if it comes in higher," Greene said.

McClung said a purchaser would have to get their own appraisal before buying the property.

"Why spend the money?" McClung asked.

"Because our mayor recommended it," alderman Bob Thomas said.

Thomas moved to get a residential appraisal on the property, and Berry said he'd use the same company that did the commercial appraisal. Thomas amended his motion to ask for the appraisal from that company. City attorney Tim Weaver advised against the amendment, saying it would prevent the city from receiving competitive prices for the service.

Thomas withdrew his amendment and original motion. He then moved for Berry to seek the best-priced residential appraisal for the property, and the council voted unanimously to do so.

In other business, Berry presented an ordinance waiving bidding for self-contained breathing apparatuses for the fire department. The ordinance says the city will purchase 10 SCBAs from Scott Self-contained Breathing Apparatus for $76,606.25.

"The previous self-contained breathing apparatuses were bought from Scott," Berry said. "To be able to maintain the same type of equipment it's best to use the same company."

McClung moved to approve the ordinance on a first reading, and the council unanimously agreed to do so. The council then unanimously approved the ordinance on a second and third reading by title only, also approving the emergency clause.

Also at the meeting, the council approved an ordinance to vacate Midway alley on a third and final reading and voted 4-2 to approve an ordinance revoking Ordinance 2179 on a second reading by title only.

The council's next regular meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday, March 25, at The Auditorium.

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