Sumpter Township Supervisor Tim Bowman planned to place “For Sale” signs at three properties yesterday, hoping to find bidders for the sites.
The three properties, two sites on Arcona and Martinsville roads and a parcel located behind the medical center on Sumpter Road, have been the subject of discussion by township officials for several weeks.
At a meeting last month, some neighboring residents protested the proposed sale of the commercially-zoned sites, claiming development would interfere with their enjoyment of the adjacent property. Trustees, while sympathetic, explained that the sites were commercially zoned and in a commercial area and that the sale of the properties in question was necessary in an effort to bring growth and development to the township.
During the meeting Oct. 24, trustees argued that an extension of the originally proposed time to bid on the properties was necessary. Trustee Don LaPorte suggested that the 15 days originally proposed to allow bids and proposals be extended to 45 or even 60 days. LaPorte said that potential bidders might need the time to take money from savings or retirement accounts and that alone could take the 10 or 15 days allotted for the bidding process.
Bowman was adamant, however, that “15 days is plenty enough time. I think two weeks is plenty of time. It's been out there for a long time that these properties were going up for sale,” he said. He insisted that serious bidders for the property would have the financial means available and would not need the extra time.
Trustee Peggy Morgan agreed with LaPorte that the time should be extended to at least 30 days.
“I don't see why there is a huge rush” she said. “Let's give half a shot to anybody who wants to who might want to buy. Let's give everyone a fair shake,” she said.
Bowman remained unconvinced and insisted that those who intended to bid on property like this have the funds available.
Trustee Matt Oddy was also in favor of allowing more time for potential bidders on the property. He suggested that posting the property with for sale signs and publishing the notice of sale would also take time, and could take up to 10 days or two weeks to have printed.
Bowman said that rather than the two weeks to have signs printed, he could have them “in the ground at the sites tomorrow” and said his office would take charge of the signage at all three of the sites being sold.
“I'll get the signs sign post them myself. It won't take me 10 days to get a sign,” Bowman said.
Township Clerk Esther Hurst was also in favor of slowing the process to allow for more transparency.
“We can do the extension of time. We need to slow down and be sure we are doing things in the right way,” she said. “If we don't, it is going to burn us later.”
Trustee Tim Rush, too, was in favor of a longer bid process.
“I want to make sure everybody has the opportunity to bid on the property,” he said. “We've been talking about this for months. Anybody interested in the property is already aware we are putting it up for sale. This will just make the sale totally transparent.”
Trustees discussed the necessary information to be included on the signs and suggested that the township have a packet with all the information about the property available at township hall and post the description and all pertinent information about the property and the bid process on the township website.
The board members agreed to open the bidding process Nov. 3 to allow Hurst and Bowman to ensure that all the necessary information and signage was complete. Bids will be accepted on the properties until close of business Dec. 3.