Wicomico Considers Surplus Property Sale

SALISBURY – Several properties came before county officials this week to be considered as surplus.

Officials came together in an open work session of the Wicomico County Council on Tuesday to discuss the declaration of multiple county-owned properties as surplus.

Weston Young, the county’s deputy director of administration, presented the council this week with a presentation of surplus properties throughout Wicomico County to be considered for sale.

“Of the ones that didn’t seem to have any current or planned use, these are a large section of those,” he said. “There are still a few more that we want to look through, but I wanted to get many of them to you now.”

Young said a review of all county-owned properties revealed more than 12 unused parcels of land throughout Wicomico. Those parcels included land on Naylor Mill Road, Delaware Avenue, Woodland Avenue, Rose Street, Mt. Hermon Road, Old Ocean City Road, Barren Creek Road, Capitola Road and Red Hill Lane.

While many of the properties were obtained by the county through tax sales and for the use of expanding or creating roadways, Young said it was unclear why some of the parcels were purchased or where its boundaries were located.

“I’ve identified them and have done basic title and plat searches through planning and zoning,” he said, “but we would need the county attorney’s office to do a more elaborate title search before we put them up (for sale).”

For example, among the properties to be considered as surplus was a parcel of land located at Wood and Belle avenues. Young said the Wicomico County Board of Education reverted the property to the county in the early 2000s after it remained unused.

“This one is going to require more title search to determine what is our actual boundary …,” he said. “It looks like it has development potential.”

In many cases, Young said neighboring property owners could be interested in purchasing the property.

“As long as there is no heartburn on any of those (properties), we can proceed with more research in terms of bringing them to sale,” he said.

Council President John Cannon questioned if the county should contact neighboring property owners first.

“Is that the most efficient way for us to do it, or do we still put it out for bid?” he said.

Young suggested the county list the larger properties through a realtor and auction off the smaller parcels.

“We want to get the best dollar for it and get it back on the tax rolls,” he said.

Councilman Marc Kilmer said the county had never completed such an extensive review of all potential surplus property and questioned how the county should proceed.

“What is the process now?” he said.

Young said each property will be reviewed by legal counsel and brought back to the council for approval.

“What we want to do is get the best price for it,” he said.

Kilmer commended Young for his research into county-owned properties.

“This is something we’ve talked about in other contexts,” he said, “so I really appreciate you following up on this and it looks like a pretty thorough review.”

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.