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Granite Quarry still discussing Byrd property off Faith Road

GRANITE QUARRY — The Board of Aldermen wants Town Manager Phil Conrad and Mayor Bill Feather to negotiate directly with a property owner who has offered the town roughly 9 acres off Faith Road.

At a specially called meeting Dec. 18, the board learned that Clifton “Tom” Byrd of Blythewood, South Carolina, had listed a number of conditions accompanying his offer of the land, which lies at 2790 Faith Road on the western side of the Byrd Road-Faith Road intersection.

Those six conditions included:

• That an existing stone house on the site be repaired, used and never demolished. Aldermen agreed Tuesday night they could not agree to that stipulation.

• That no roads would be cut through the property other than those needed for visitors to access walking paths.

• The property would be named Byrd Park. First of all, Mayor Pro Tem Jim LaFevers asked, is it even going to be a park?

• That Byrd would be allowed 90 days after closing on the property transaction to remove all items in the garage on the site. Town board members had no problem with that request.

• At the entrance to the “park,” Byrd stipulated that a stone monument — with a list of all the Byrd family donors — be installed. Aldermen indicated they had no problem with having some kind of sign or marker recognizing the Byrd family.

• The town would reimburse Byrd for his attorney fees linked to the transfer of property, appraisal fees and the $1,200 due in back property taxes. Aldermen made no commitment on these issues Tuesday night.

Byrd’s estimated attorney fees are about $750; appraisal fees are $550.

At the Dec. 18 meeting, the aldermen voted unanimously to accept the property without restrictions, providing a home inspection and environment evaluation be done, while also having maintenance costs assessed by the town staff.

Discussions continued Tuesday night with updates from Conrad and Town Attorney Graham Corriher.

The 1,200-square-foot house on the site was built in 1935 and has an assessed value of about $65,000. It is not considered historic.

Conrad said he had spoken with Byrd, and he thought Byrd had not meant the conditions he outlined before to be an ultimatum to the town. “I think the door’s open there,” Conrad said.

Feather recommended speaking with Byrd personally to see if an agreement could be worked out. As far as the town’s requiring an environmental assessment, Feather said it would be highly unusual for what has always been a residential property, which the same family probably has owned for maybe 100 years.

Feather said it would be proper to conduct the necessary title search and all other inspections conducted in a normal home transaction.

Conrad and Feather will report back to the rest of the board in February.

The aldermen had two other property issues before them Tuesday night.

In one, Marcel Renn, who owns Renn Bee Farm at 2495 Faith Road, sent a letter to the mayor saying he was interested in purchasing the property the town previously had bought next to Renn for use as recreational fields.

No monetary amount was attached to the Renn offer, but Feather wanted to bring the matter to the board’s attention.

The town had bought the Faith Road property in question for $20,000. Since then, a nonprofit Granite Quarry Athletic Club was established with hopes of developing the land for soccer and/or lacrosse fields for youth.

A nine-hole disc golf course at the back of the site and some walking trails also could be additional uses for the site, according to previous discussions.

Feather said the nonprofit group could possibly lease the land from the town, and it would be in close proximity to a proposed 250-home residential subdivision. A town-owned sewer easement runs on part of the property.

That easement could represent a big issue, Alderman John Linker said, and if the town has a good strategic use for the land, it should retain ownership.

LaFevers said he thinks the property holds a lot of positive potential for Granite Quarry. Aldermen collectively decided to keep the property for now.

Conrad reported that Paul Fisher, representing the Fisher heirs to two parcels owned jointly by the Fisher-Brinkley families, has offered to donate the Fisher side to the town.

The Fisher-Brinkley parcels together represent about 6 acres total at 381 S. Salisbury Ave., between there and South Clio Avenue. It’s on the fringe of the town’s Downtown Master Plan.

Linker asked how strategic that land is for the town.

“We need to think about this a little more,” he said.

LaFevers expressed some reluctance in accepting Fisher’s offer because it would mean the town still would not have sole ownership of the parcels.

The aldermen ended up asking Conrad to contact representatives of the Brinkley side and report back.

Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263.

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