Deborah Sirockman, owner/operator of Virginia Found Goods located on Pocket Road in Hurt, attended the August 20 Town Council meeting to “check in” with council that she is still interested in purchasing some town-owned property across the road from her antique store.
Hurt Mayor Gary Poindexter mentioned that the town always wants to be business friendly and is willing to work with her request so she can expand her business. The town owns a couple of acres behind her property, but she indicated that wouldn’t be of interest.
Public Works Coordinator Ed Hodges reminded council that the town has had an agreement in place for years with the original owner of the property Sirockman wishes to purchase, regarding its use. “We’ll need to look into that because we don’t want any hardship. We need to call Danny,” said council member Collin Adams (referring to Danny Adams, a local farmer who has been mowing the vacant land for hay over recent years).
Town Attorney John Eller advised that finding out if the town is legally clear to sell some of the land is the first order of business, with a public hearing needing to be held as the following step.
Surveying would need to be done before a fair price can be established. Also noted in the discussion was that some of the land owned by Hurt is not contiguous in one tract but is collectively recorded under one deed, along with the fact that the acreage in question is designated as part of Sycamore Creek's 100-year floodplain. Sirockman expressed an interest in something on the scale of five acres initially, but that she might be interested in more acreage depending on the price.
In follow-up remarks to the Journal yesterday, Poindexter stated that he has since initiated a process of finding an appraiser to determine a fair market value for the property. He went on to note that "Hurt seldom has much need for the services of an appraiser, so we haven't kept one 'on retainer' as we would for a service more frequently used. However, I want to make sure that we are taking every reasonable step to expedite this process and not cause any further unnecessary delays for Ms. Sirockman or her business. If the town can help in this way with her plans for expansion, then it is my intent to encourage and support doing so. If by some chance we find a compelling reason why we can't proceed, then I think we owe her the courtesy of letting her know that so other options can be explored."
According to Mayor Poindexter, the property that Sirockman is interesting in buying from the town would be small portion off a larger tract owned by the town, Key Industrial Park -- land that is referred to by some area residents as simply the "town farm."
For more on this story, see this week's Altavista Journal.