County approves buying land in Knightdale for future trails

mhankerson@newsobserver.comJanuary 21, 2014 

— Wake County Commissioners approved funding to purchase almost 36 acres of property between Knightdale and Wendell to help make way for trail access for the future Lake Myra county park.

At their Jan. 6 meeting, commissioners unanimously approved spending $530,000 to acquire the land, which was appraised at $565,000. The property is located on the east side of the Amber Ridge subdivision.

The owner of the property, Eastwind Development Company, agreed to sell the property for $510,000 and donate another 26 acres. The county asked for $530,000 to cover additional costs attached to buying the land, like taxes, surveys and appraisals.

“Residents will see most of the Eastwinds property remain in its natural state, which will help maintain the water quality in Marks Creek,” said Matt Roylance, Wake County’s parks, recreation and open space deputy director.

In the future though, Roylance said the county wants to provide trails through the property to the new park. Roylance said this particular property is only one of many open space properties along the creek and it would be possible to connect all that space to create a trail to the south toward the Johnston County line.

Eastwind developer Richard Stockett was one of 18 landowners asked by the county to sell land as part of its open spaces efforts to preserve and use land for county projects.

The county made it clear to landowners that it was a voluntary program and they did not have to sell their land to the county. With limited funds available, a competitive price was also necessary.

According to the appraisal report of the property, completed in November, the space was originally acquired by Stockett’s company to build a 60-lot phase of the Amber Ridge subdivision. The report said sales in previous phases are not strong enough to warrant adding more lots.

Since staff presented recommendations to the board of commissioners about which spaces would best fit the county’s need in September 2013, the county has closed on two properties: Walnut Hill Farm and property on Buffalo Creek owned by VantageSouth.

“(These parcels) help us very much with connectivity to the future park and that’s the primary reason we are interested and that’s why the property scored so well in our model,” Roylance said.

“We feel like the price is good (so) it’s a strong candidate for us.”

According to the Sept. 9 commissioner meeting notes, there are three more properties near Mark’s Creek the county is interested in purchasing.

The properties are owned by three separate owners and if the county can purchase them at the originally proposed price, it would cost just over $1.2 million.

Hankerson: 919-829-4826; Twitter: @easternwakenews

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