City of Seaford sells power plant property

By Lynn R. Parks

The city of Seaford has sold the property on which its decommissioned power plant sits. The plot was one of five properties that have been sold to Seaford Development Associates for a total price of $125,000.

The city council approved the sale at a recent meeting. The vote was unanimous.

The other four properties are all in the vicinity of the power plant, which sits on the Nanticoke River at the base of Pine Street.

Seaford Development Associates is the group that has proposed remaking Seaford's downtown with construction of shops, restaurants and a hotel. The group has already started construction on the Residences at River Place, also on the Nanticoke.

The 1.893-acre property where the power plant is will be the home of the Galleria at Riverwalk, according to plans for the Seaford Towne Center at Riverwalk.

The selling price of the five properties is less than half of the appraised price of the power plant property alone. Last fall, an appraiser hired by the city reported that the property is worth $353,100.

But that would be the value of the property after it is cleaned up and free of contaminants, the Carmean Appraisal Group said. An environmental assessment by the state found petroleum hydrocarbons and semi-volatile organic compounds at the plant site.

With the sale, the developer will be responsible for the cleanup of the property, city manager Dolores Slatcher said.

The city also took into account the fact that the development group was buying more than one site in setting the price. "This was an economic development decision for the proposed sale," Slatcher said.

The city was also prepared to sell the vacant lot behind Royal Farms, for $50,000. The 41,000-square foot lot, which stretches north to the corner of Front and King streets, was donated to the city by Tim Ayers in 2012. The city accepted the donation after an inspection found no environmental contaminants on the land.

The Carmean Appraisal Group appraised the lot then at $125,000; original selling price, which included costs the city incurred for tree removal and sidewalk repair, was $149,149.

The $50,000 sale price "was the new negotiated price with the elected officials with this developer," Slatcher said.

The city's sale of the land was put on hold at a recent meeting of the city council, though, when Councilman Dan Henderson requested that a vote on the sale be tabled.

"I received an email today from a constituent voicing concerns about the property," Henderson told fellow council members. That constituent "had an interest in the property prior" to the city owning it, Henderson added.

"I would like the opportunity to request permission to share his concerns with the rest of the council, so this can be fully resolved," Henderson said.

Councilwoman Leanne Phillips-Lowe was not pleased with Henderson's request. "I have a lot of trouble with this coming up at the last minute," she said.

A motion to table the sale of that property was approved by the council, with Phillips-Lowe and Councilwoman Grace Peterson voting against it.

News tips wanted
Call us with ideas for news and features. We're always looking for good stories to share with readers. Call Bryant Richardson at 629-9788.