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Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette Logo Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette


06/06/2024 Bayside Gazette Editorial

Appearances can be as important as money

It’s not a matter of whether the Berlin mayor and council want to sell Parcel 57 on the Heron Park tract, that’s been established. At issue is how town officials want to sell it and how many strings they want to attach to its development.

The latter will determine what a reasonable asking price for the parcel would be, no matter what a standard appraisal might suggest, since the attractiveness of any developable property depends on its potential to deliver a decent return on the investment.

That’s what scuttled the last potential sale of the Parcel 57, when likely buyers found it impossible to satisfy the council’s conflicting visions and demands, as well as the shifting price-vs-profit numbers resulting from differing ideas of how a fair price should be determined.

As Councilman Dean Burrell pointed out Monday, the council needs to decide exactly what it is selling — land, sewer and water capacity and type of development permitted — before possible suitors come calling. And that assumes that would-be buyers are willing to invest time and money exploring the unknown.

Also to be determined is what the mayor and council believe is the most important aspect of selling the land:  getting as much money as they can for these few acres so they can buy down the loan used to buy the park property? Or is it settling for getting what they can to guarantee the elimination of the town’s worse eyesore?

Without going so far as to say the mayor and council can’t have both if they wait long enough, it is a matter of how much harm the town’s image will have to endure because of this heap of ugly while town officials hold out for a better price.

With that in mind, a reasonable price and a reasonable set of restrictions on the parcel’s development would result in the removal of that scar on the landscape sooner rather than later. Although reducing debt is something everyone wants to do, there are times when compromises must be made for the sake of appearances.