Sebastian City Council Discusses Purchasing Waterfront Property

June 14th, 2022

Sebastian City Council discussed at their June 8th meeting, acquiring a waterfront property, 1528 Indian River Drive. This property is in the Sebastian City Limits. This item was discussed under New Business on the Meeting Agenda.

City Manager Paul Carlisle brought up the issue by explaining that the City had previously expressed interest in acquiring this property and that he had engaged Dan Nelson to do an appraisal, which will take four weeks to complete. He also said that he has spoken with the Realtor representing the owner, that the asking price is $2.9 million and that there is significant interest from other buyers. He then asked the Council’s opinion on how to proceed.

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Council Member Ed Dodd responded by stating his position as being in favor of the acquisition and that he believes it would be a good move for the City. He noted that the City cannot pay more than the appraised value, so he does not agree with paying $2.9 million as he believes that price is above what the appraised value will be. He suggested that the City could wait until the appraisal is finished, hoping that another buyer does not put the property under contract in the interim.

Mayor Jim Hill responded by intimating that the City has the option to put the property under contract now, before the appraisal is done, thus negating the issue of whether or not the City pays more than the appraised value of the property since the appraised value in that scenario would be unknown at the time of contract.

City Manager Carlisle then said that he could make an offer at the asking price of $2.9 million contingent on the results of the appraisal, to which Council Member Dodd replied that the very fact the $2.9 million was offered by the City could in turn affect the appraisal, possibly unintentionally setting the price at $2.9 million regardless of true value.

Council Member Christopher Nunn said that he is “torn” on the property - he can see the benefit of the acquisition but isn’t sure if it is worth the cost. He suggested moving forward and seeing how things turn out. Mayor Hill interjected to clarify that the City Manager is asking if the City should proceed in acquiring this property, so more definitive answers are needed.

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Council Member Bob McPartlan voiced his opposition to the acquisition by stating that there are too many unknown expenses coming in the future for which the City will need cash reserves, and that the property is beautiful but fiscally unattainable. He joked that he would agree to contribute ten dollars to a Powerball pool in hopes of winning the grand prize in order to pay for property.

Vice Mayor Fred Jones agreed with Council Member McPartlan that the property is financially unattainable for the City, although he admits that the acquisition would benefit the people of Sebastian by maintaining access to the riverfront instead of losing it to private property. Mayor Hill rebutted by suggesting the City could hypothetically get a loan for $2.9 million over 20 years in order to purchase the property. He also stated he is in favor of waiting for the appraisal in hopes that the value will be less than the current asking price.

Council Member Dodd then restated his opinion that the City should not pay the asking price of $2.9 million.

City Manager Carlisle ended the discussion of the topic saying that the City will wait on the appraisal to be finished in four weeks and proceed from there.

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