Chappell presented a resolution at Tuesday’s board meeting to condemn 2.79 acres of property, owned by Bill Seaton, to build an access road from Martin Cemetery Road into the back side of the technology park. The park currently has only one access road, from the Highway 166 Bypass.
Chappell’s motion at Tuesday’s meeting died from the lack of a second. District 3 Commissioner Ashley Hendrix made a motion to reject the resolution, which was seconded by District 2 Commissioner Vicki Anderson. The vote was 6-1, with Chappell casting the lone dissenting vote.
Chappell said Thursday that the road is not needed now, but as the park develops, it will be needed. He said the property could be bought now for about $52,000, but as the area starts developing, the price may rise to $500,000.
He said the land has covenants on it now which would prohibit commercial use, but by using the condemnation process, those covenants wouldn’t apply.
“I want to encourage the commission to think 20 years down the road, not just for today or yesterday,” he said.
But the commissioners who voted against it questioned the need to buy it now and were concerned about residents’ objections to the traffic.
District 4 Commissioner John Wilson, in whose district the property lies, said when the county first started planning the technology park, many of the neighbors had concerns about traffic being diverted through their area.
“I told them I would try to keep that from happening while I was in office,” Wilson said. “Right now, I don’t see the need of having that road. We can go back later and revisit it.”
Wilson said he’d received many calls from people concerned about the road.
“I’m friends with a lot of them and they didn’t want it,” he said. “If I lived there, I wouldn’t want it either.”
But Chappell disputes that the traffic would affect many people, saying that Martin Cemetery Road is mostly undeveloped property.
“There’s only one house on that road,” he said. “The folks objecting are good people, but they don’t live on Martin Cemetery Road either.”
Chappell said that as the park builds out, employees of the companies in the park might want to live along Martin Cemetery Road and the access road would make it easy for them to get to their places of work.
Hendrix, who made the motion to deny, said she didn’t see the urgency for condemning the property. She said she had also received calls from residents.
“With us in the economy like it is, we need to carefully look at what we’re buying,” she said. “The county needs to save what money it has.”
“I couldn’t understand why the land was being condemned,” Anderson said. “We were never given a real reason for it.”
Anderson said she’d also received calls from people in that neighborhood.
Chappell said he has no plans to bring the resolution up again before he leaves office at the end of the year.