In Your Corner: Road Dispute Gets More Complicated

By Ryan Elijah

May 13, 2011 Updated May 13, 2011 at 8:01 AM EDT

For two years an access road serving the Georgetown North Shopping Center was available in a tax sale, in November, the Paige and Witherspoon group bought it for $370.

Surrounding businesses didn't realize anything had changed until barriers were placed in the road, blocking traffic. While they were quickly removed, this unique dilemma has had anything but a quick resolution. Paige and Witherspoon's CEO told us his goal is pretty simple.

"the goal is to liquidate the property, pure and simple, we don't want it, they have more of a need for it than we do", said Anthony Perry, CEO of Paige and Witherspoon.

Adding to the problem is a number of deep potholes that need fixed,
Two weeks ago a young driver caused serious damage to his car when he hit one. A business owner told INC they were told by the new owners they would be sued if they fixed the road, something Perry disputed. On Tuesday, one owner, not part of the association, decided they'd seen enough and hired a crew to fix some of the potholes, but a good part of the road is still in bad need of repair. The new owners weren't pleased.

"we'll consult our legal team, because they were not authorized to do so"

One day later Perry sent word to the businesses that, they were not authorized to make repairs and only wanted to be contacted if there's a viable offer on the property.

So what is an access road worth? in 2009, the Allen County Assessors office listed the value at $69,000, but now it has a "zero assessment" and is defined as a "common area or easement".
Paige and Witherspoon has listed the property for $59,500, a nice return on a $370 initial investment. Perry says the businesses want to use the road for free, he's pushing a maintenance agreement, until a sale price is reached. At this point there are no negotiations. Salin Bank and Fifth Third Bank are leading the business owners and are prepared for legal action in a bizarre dispute that has left customers right in the middle.

Many access roads that serve businesses are public roads and often are under municipal control, but there are exceptions like this one. City officials have told us easement requirements prevent this property from being a city property.

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