SNOW HILL– County officials agreed to schedule a public hearing regarding the donation of a small piece of property to the Berlin Fire Company.
On Tuesday, the Worcester County Commissioners voted unanimously to set up a public hearing regarding a proposed property donation. The Berlin Fire Company (BFC) has asked the commissioners to transfer ownership of a small section of property along Harrison Avenue across from the Berlin branch of the Worcester County Library.
“We’re asking the county to declare that surplus and donate it to the fire company to make all our land on the west side of the railroad tracks contiguous,” said David Fitzgerald, BFC president.
Fitzgerald wrote to the commissioners in September asking that a small piece of property on Harrison Avenue, about 18-feet by 223-feet, be declared surplus and be donated to the fire company.
“At present, it is vacant and requires the county maintenance staff to remember to pick up trash and cut grass on this small parcel across Harrison Avenue from the library,” he wrote. “This donation would allow the fire company some additional parking during events and to have contiguous land to all of our existing property west of the railroad tracks and remove the additional maintenance required by county staff.”
Fitzgerald said this week the property hadn’t been used by the county since the library was under construction.
“It’s not been in use since all the construction equipment was removed when the library was built,” he said.
The commissioners asked for input from Public Works Director Dallas Baker and Worcester County Library Director Jennifer Ranck. Baker had no concerns with the request and Ranck said the only thing the library might use the piece of land for was to enable a large vehicle like a bus to turn around.
“I don’t think we’d have a problem with that,” Fitzgerald said.
The commissioners voted 7-0 to set up the public hearing required before the county can dispose of property. Commissioner Jim Bunting said he didn’t object to the property donation but suggested the BFC work with the Town of Berlin regarding the adjacent right-of-way.
“Harrison Avenue is 40 feet wide and then it narrows down to 30 feet in front of this property,” he said, adding that the right-of-way of Harrison Avenue jutted into the parcel.
He suggested the fire company take two feet of the strip of land and deed it to Berlin so there was no break in the right-of-way.
“We can certainly investigate that,” Fitzgerald said.