The five acres Star Valley bought this past fall is set for some improvements.
The town will demolish the house on the $250,000 parcel, at a cost of no more than $15,000.
The council split on that decision, with councilors George Binney and Paty Henderson opposed. Binney wanted to tear down both the house and barn on the property. Earlier in the discussion, Henderson supported demolishing the house quickly to avoid any liability issues, but expressed doubts about whether to use the land for a future town hall.
Leading up to the vote, the council heard reports from Gary Coon and Vern Leis, who had both researched different aspects of property. Coon made detailed measurements and concluded the property has limited buildable space. To accommodate a 2,400-square-foot town hall, 40 parking spaces and the required septic system (leach field), the town could not sell any of the land. Previously, the council had discussed selling up to three acres to Glen McCombs and Plant Fair Nursery.
Leis talked to realtors specializing in commercial property, who told him the average price for bare land runs between $70,000 to $75,000 per acre. If that’s true, then the land’s worth $350,000 — which is $100,000 more than the town paid for it. However, they noted that a land split with the required improvements for residential lots could cost more than the town would recover from sales. Leis said the realtors also recommended simply tearing down the old house there now.
The matter of keeping or taking the barn down was set aside for another time.