Thursday, May 19, 2022

Trustees move forward with property auction

The list of Sumpter Township owned properties going up for auction will get another close look before being sold to the highest bidder.

Township officials, including Supervisor Tim Bowman and Trustee Matt Oddy, will review the list and descriptions of the various properties to ensure that they meet the building requirements currently in effect in the community prior to being sold.

Oddy addressed the issue during a recent meeting of the trustees noting that some of the properties were 80-feet wide and current building restrictions in the township require a larger frontage.

“These lots are next to each other and should be sold as one,” he suggested. “I have a concern that if somebody thought they couldn't build on the site they might not bid on the property as some are too small. I suggest we combine a few of these and make them as much in compliance with our zoning as possible before we sell them,” he said.

Bowman said the auctioneer was aware that some of the lots would sell together and had some concern about the cost of having the lots combined. “The purchaser should pay to have made as one, not the township,” he said.

Clerk Esther Hurst reminded the board members that at one time the township had some difficulty in obtaining a clear title to properties, which could present a problem if they are sold.

Attorney Rob Young explained that some of the lots were quit claimed to the township by the Department of Natural Resources when property owners didn't pay taxes. 

“Sometimes the paper trail doesn't catch up,” he said, “but we don't get into it. If we know about an issue, we disclose it. What we are selling is our interest in the property. What we have is what the buyer gets,” he said. “We're conveying what we have to you.”

“I don't feel we should put something up for sale knowing it is unbuildable,” Oddy said. “I think the lots should be combined when possible.” He noted that previously the township had offered some of the unbuildable narrow lots to homeowners on either side of the property so they could expand their property. 

The board members discussed the fees and costs for combining the lots and noted that new lot numbers and property descriptions would be necessary prior to the auction. The costs, they determined, would be included in the reserve amount at the auction, ensuring the fees would be paid at the time of the sale.

Oddy also suggested that there could be a site needed by the township to install a pump station if sewer lines went down the road.

Bowman said the township could set reserve prices on the property and “the auction company starts high. We need the money for these properties,” he said.

“These lots have been on our books long enough and it is time to sell,” Oddy agreed.

The board members agreed to table authorizing the sale for two weeks while officials met to determine which lots could be combined and take the appropriate action to ensure the lots met current zoning restrictions when possible.