Columbia board may sell “paper” street

Published 12:41 pm Tuesday, July 10, 2018

The Columbia Board of Aldermen on July 2 said they are willing to sell most of a 30-foot-wide northward extension of Pennsylvania Avenue that has been dormant for 75 years or more and never opened to traffic.

The town owns the “paper” street between Howard and Green streets plus a lot at the south end where a town water well is located.

Tim and Rachel Spruill own the vacant lot at the corner of Columbia Avenue and Green Street, site of the long-ago Bush Harrell sawmill. On June 25 they offered to purchase the portion of the “paper” street that adjoins their eastern property line “to help maintain and clean the drainage ditch.”

The 30-by-372-foot strip in question is overgrown with heavy brush and small trees. The drainage ditch is on the eastern edge of the strip, immediately behind four residences fronting on Virginia Avenue. It terminates at New Town Ditch, an underground drainway with catch basins, that flows into Bush Harrell’s Canal and then the Scuppernong River.

Because the drainage ditch is on the eastern extremity of the strip, the Spruills cannot reach it without encroaching on town property.

Alderman Seth Gibbs said getting the property on the tax books would be a good thing.

The board was unwilling to accept the Spruills’ $800 offer, but they agreed informally to Alderman Bryan Owens’ suggestion that a fair price would be the value the acquisition would add to the Spruill lot.

The question of who would pay for an appraisal was not resolved, and White was directed to confer further with the Spruills.

Because a street is involved, the town planning board will be consulted about the proposed transaction.