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Board unanimously approves realty exchange
County - LOCAL

NEWTON COUNTY — In a unanimous vote, the Newton County Board of Commissioners voted to approve a resolution to accept the change of property from Gaither’s Church Inc. to the county. 

The transaction involved Gaither Church giving land to the county at 2863 Henderson Mill Road. at an appraisal of $120,800. In exchange, the county would give land located at 3026 Henderson Mill Road. appraised at $21,650 as well as a portion of 10 Digsby Road at an appraised value of $52,100 for a total $73,750.

In this deal, the county would receive 5.78 acres whilst the church would receive 3.84 acres. It was also noted that the value and acreage of the property that the county would receive would exceed what Gaither’s Church would receive.

District 4 representative J.C. Henderson had questions about the property exchange, asking if this would affect any future reservoir plans that the county may have. This was among the discussion points for this exchange.

Priya Patel – an attorney for Jarrad and Davis filling in for county attorney Patrick Jaugstetter – clarified some of the conditions of the land parcels in question.

“There’s multiple parcels included and a lot of those parcels had caveats and conditions that said if the county does not build the reservoir within a certain time period that the property reverts back to the property owners,” Patel said. “My understanding is that we’ve already started that process of giving the property back since the county did not move forward with the reservoir.”

Henderson said that due to the population growth, there may be plans for a reservoir in the future, which could complicate the land exchange. 

“I think in the same sense, there might be a possible reservoir in the future depending on the population, and as you know our population is growing,” Henderson said. “You could give it back to them but if you need it in 10 years, then you had to condemn it again from them.”

County manager Harold Cooper would later clarify what the property exchange could intel if a reservoir were to be built.  

“The property that we’re receiving is of higher value and we are aware that the church may have to be condemned if the water reservoir is an issue,” Cooper said. “If a feasibility study is needed and this board would like that then we will do that.”

Chairman Marcello Banes said that he “was just about positive” a study was conducted to determine how much water was needed for a potential new reservoir all the way out to 2075.

Henderson stated that while he was in favor of the land exchange, that the county may want to look at a future reservoir – once again citing the growth within the county. 

The motion to approve the land exchange was made by District 1 representative Stan Edwards and seconded by District 5 representative Ronnie Cowan. It passed 5-0.