Pulaski Town Council is creating a “timeline” for Gary Martin.
Martin, who was a town employee for some 40 years, approached council in early October for its help after receiving notice from the town giving him 30 days to remove his double-wide home from town property located at the Macgill Village Park.
Martin has lived on the site since 1981. Martin told council in October the town had created the home site so he could live there and keep watch over a storage building at the park where the town kept recreation equipment.
Martin told council in October that there had been discussions through the years about the land being surveyed so he could buy it, but nothing was ever finalized.
Since October, Martin and his daughter, Amanda have been going back and forth with council and Interim Town Manager Darlene Burcham over resolving the situation.
At council’s work session Tuesday, Councilman Michael Reis asked Burcham for an update on the Martin home situation.
Burcham said she and Amanda Martin had met again.
“She came in primarily to ask about access to some of their personal property which we (town) found out had been stored in a town-owned building, which we had not given permission in the past for it to be used in that regard,” Burcham began, noting the town had changed locks on the building and “No Trespassing” signs had been posted.
Burcham told council that at the meeting, Martin “really had nothing to report as to progress on the two options council had suggested they should pursue” – purchasing a portion of the town’s property where Gary Martin’s home is located or moving the double-wide home to another location within the town or county.
The possibility of buying the property from the town can’t move forward until the Martins come up with a solution on how to access the property.
“Council had indicated previously that the current access would not be allowed given the development potential of the property,” Burcham said.
The Macgill Village Park is approximately 10 acres in size, and Burcham said it “clearly is not in its highest or bet use at the present time.”
“I think I previously indicated to council that housing is in great need in the town and that is one possibility for the park property,” she added.
Burcham said when she and Amanda Martin spoke last week, Martin indicated they had spoken to a representative of Macgill Village Co. about crossing their property to access the Marin home from the rear.
“She said she had not received an answer back from Macgill Village’s owners as to whether or not an easement of access could be given at the rear of their current location,” Burcham said.
Burcham continued that she had asked about where the Martins stood on the issue of re-location.
“The answer was pretty much what we’d heard before. That they had looked at several properties. One was only for rent, and she said her father was not interested in renting. One has been sold, and another one was in the county and would require a septic system,” Burcham said.
“I strongly encouraged her to bring to my office by last Friday an update to be shared with council prior to this meeting that indicated a timeline for both of those options,” Burcham continued. “How long would it take to get a septic system installed? How long to move the trailer? Three months for one, four months for the other? … so, council could see a plan to execute both options, and on the option to purchase, where are we on the easement issue?
“I didn’t receive anything last week and I expected them to be here this evening because she (Amanda) was very concerned we had locked the building that we did not know they were using or had access to.
“I advised her access to that property would not be given until council was informed as to its contents and that council would participate in the decision about when that property could be made available,” Burcham said.
Burcham told council “the public needs to understand that we’re (town) not talking about taking someone’s property. Their property is only in fact the doublewide located on the town’s property.”
She added, “We are not going to be able to allow the kind of access that trailer has had in the past if we are going to develop that property.”
“I would encourage council to allow us to start marketing that property (Macgill Village Park) to see what potential there is for its future development involving the community and the neighborhood before a decision is made as to its eventual use. Ten acres in the community that is basically flat … given the demand for housing there is a viable solution out there that would benefit the community in general, and certainly provide housing for people I would like to see live in the town – not just work here and go someplace else at night,” Burcham told council.
Burcham noted there is a fairly recent report that indicates something like 18 -20 percent of people who live in town actually work here. Everyone else is actually commuting and living someplace else.
“We need to reverse those numbers,” she said.
Reis suggested that, “If we’re not being given timelines, then maybe we need to be providing the Martins with timelines. I think we all agree we need to see something happen with that property. Now it is essentially under used or at least not to the potential it should be.”
Councilman Greg East asked Burcham if she had told the Martins that “the current right of way won’t be acceptable – given the fact [the park] is a 10-acre tract and the current driveway [to the Martin home] would divide the property and de-value it greatly and that would not be an acceptable option.”
“Absolutely,” Burcham exclaimed.
“We need to establish a timeline on having a decision from Macgill Village about rear access to the Martin home. If that is not feasible or a viable option, that changes where we are with our discussions,” East suggested. He added that if the access could be available, both sides can proceed with the Martins making an offer for the property.
East and Reis suggested giving the Martins 30 days to get response in writing from Macgill Village.
Burcham said that, at the same time, the Martins could determine what value to propose to the town on a purchase.
Town Attorney Spencer Rygas suggested giving 30 days on the access question, with the Martins presenting a signed commitment on access from Macgill Village at a council meeting.
Burcham suggested too that the Martins consider the other options during the 30-day period.
By MIKE WILLIAMS, The Patriot