A legal hurdle that could stand in the way of selling a building owned by the Town of North Wilkesboro at 910 Main Street is close to being cleared.
Because the building shares a roof and an interior wall with the building on the east occupied by the law office of McElwee Firm PLLC at 906 Main Street, a draft agreement establishing broad guidelines for maintenance was prepared and is under consideration.
This declaration of restricted easements, covenants and restrictions needs to be approved by the McElwee Firm and the town board before the building is marketed to potential buyers, said interim town attorney Daniel Johnson during Tuesday night’s board meeting.
Johnson said attorney John Logsdon of the McElwee firm is reviewing the document, which was prepared by the late Gary Vannoy when he was town attorney.
Johnson said the agreement addresses responsibilities of each property owner for maintaining and making emergency repairs to elements they share, which are the roof, interior wall, utility infrastructure and drainage system.
It says that if repairs are needed, each owner will give the adjoining parcel owner a 30-day advance notice of the work to be done. “In emergency circumstances, it gives the ability to each property owner to do what’s necessary to maintain emergency repairs that are necessary.”
Johnson said he spoke with Logsdon on several occasions about the matter and he has been very cooperative. “He’s told me that’s he’s reviewing it, and I hope to get an answer back from him soon. I tried to impress upon John that the town is ready to move forward in marketing and hopefully selling it. This would be beneficial to both parties.”
Once finalized with the McElwee firm, the final agreement will be presented to the board for approval, Johnson said. Tuesday night, the board gave consensus approval for Johnson to proceed with the matter.
Johnson spoke to the board remotely via speakerphone because, he said, “I learned this afternoon that I had direct exposure to a client who tested positive for COVID-19. Now, I’m in isolation and sorry I can’t attend the meeting in person.”
Commissioner Michael Parsons said, “I would really, really like to see us being very proactive in getting this agreement done, signed and recorded so that we could begin to market that property
instead of continuing to sit on it.”
Town Manager Wilson Hooper said three inquiries about the building were received from potential buyers in the past six months, although the property isn’t being actively marketed. He said the inquiries led to two viewings of the property.
The town bought the building at 910 Main Street from 906 Main Street LLC, a corporation with William McElwee III as registered agent, for $51,000 in 2016.
The purchase included a narrow 1,307-square-foot parcel that actually is between the buildings at 910 Main and 906 Main, but for all practical purposes is part of the building at 910 Main. The town renovated it and the building at 910 Main to a “shell” state, hoping to spur future investment in the downtown area. The front facades of the two are flush and they would be sold together.
The combined two-story structure has 4,792 square feet of floor space. It formerly was occupied by Roselli’s restaurant.
The town also bought the building at 912 Main Street from 906 Main Street LLC for $51,000. This building, on the west side of the building at 910 Main, was sold to Joshua and Michelle Allen of Arden for $65,785 in June 2019 via an upset bid process.
The Allens said they planned to move into the top-floor apartment of the building with their children and open a barbershop on the bottom floor, but they haven’t done so yet.
Hooper said three North Wilkesboro police officers, while responding to a call last week, were exposed to a person who tested positive for COVID-19. The officers have been tested for the virus and are isolating at home until test results are known.
“If (tests are) negative they’ll go back to work; if positive they’ll isolate,” he said.
Hooper said a fourth officer is currently out of work due to a household member who is recovering from COVID-19. “We won’t have any gaps in our (police) coverage yet, but this is something that is pretty concerning and we’ll watch closely over the next few weeks to make sure we have sufficient staff to cover the whole town.”
Also on Tuesday, the board:
• approved a resolution saying there is no conflict of interest for the town to purchase T-shirts from by Brooke Horn, wife of firefighter Rob Horn, for fire department members; and for Heather Thornburg, wife of North Wilkesboro Police Officer Rob Thornburg, to be paid by the town for performing health physicals for fire department members;
• administered the oath of office to new police officers Jacob Alexander McCoy and Jerry Andrew Dodd III, whom Police Chief Joe Rankin called “the cream of the crop; we got the best that was out there;” and
• awarded retiring police officer John Vandervort his badge and duty weapon. Vandervort started as a part-time officer in 1991, and has been full-time since 1993. He retired July 1. “He has been an asset to this town, and every day he came to work he was ready to go. He was all about the town of North Wilkesboro,” said Rankin.