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Live in Pr. George's: 'Buy Low, Sell High,' Council Member Says

Why would the county sell or transfer 88 parcels of land valued at millions of dollars now, when the real estate market is in a ditch?

That's what Council Member Ingrid Turner (D-Bowie) wanted to know from County Executive Jack B. Johnson's representative a few minutes ago, when the council was being briefed on Johnson's land sale proposal.

Here are excerpts from an exchange between Turner and Leigh Williams, administrator for the county's Land Acquisition and Real Property Division:

Turner: "Some of the properties, I notice, are from the '70s...the '80s, and throughout....Do you know why we didn't sell the properties earlier when it was a higher market rate?...It's always buy low, sell high, and right now the market is at a lower economic time period, so I'm just wondering what the thought process is..."

Williams: "I can assure you that the parcels that are on the list, homeowners or individuals requested the parcels be surplussed."

[Williams had said earlier that residents and property owners had requested the parcels be deemed 'surplus' so they could purchase them.]

Turner: "You're saying in the last year...we've gotten [this many] requests...?"

Williams: "To the best of my knowledge, it's been in the last year."

Council Member Tony Knotts (D-Temple Hills) raised the question of just who these "adjacent property owners" are.

"Adjacent to what?" asked Knotts. "I need a map to see who owns what of the adjacent property."

Williams said some of the properties were being transferred to parks and municipalities. 79 of the parcels came to the county through tax sales, she said. She also said the county has been paying for the upkeep of some of the land, and now the property will go back on the county's tax rolls, providing additional revenue.

No action was taken on the measure today, and Chairwoman Marilynn M. Bland (D-Clinton)--who introduced the measure at Johnson's request--urged council members to examine the proposal closely, and to request an additional briefing if need be.

"If you have concerns," Bland said, "study it."

That's all for today from Live in Prince George's. We'll be sure to update you on the measures highlighted today as they make their way through the meat grinder that is the legislative process.

By Jonathan Mummolo  |  October 6, 2009; 3:13 PM ET
Categories:  Jonathan Mummolo , Prince George's County  
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I love this "Live in Pr. George's" series. I think Prince George's County doesn't get enough attention for the good things we're doing. Of course, the County Council can go either way, but the citizens should know what their council members are doing and this helps us. Thank you!

Posted by: JoyceD | October 7, 2009 11:04 AM | Report abuse

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