Stuurmans purchase makes way for street
By ELISABETH MURRAY
Whidbey Examiner Staff
November 1, 2012 · Updated 12:44 PM
The Town of Coupeville is one step closer to building a new street to connect Broadway and North Main.
A timeline has not yet been established for the transportation project, and Coupeville Mayor Nancy Conard said it could take 20-30 years for the Fourth Street extension to be completed.
From downtown Coupeville, Madrona Way to Coveland Street currently provides the most direct connection between Broadway and Main streets. A secondary corridor meanders through residential neighborhoods.
The future of the street depends on the plans of two property owners, Cecil Stuurmans and Ted Clifton. The two developers own parcels between Broadway and Main that are large enough to be subdivided.
Their building plans would affect the street’s location as well as when it could be built, Conard said. The developers would foot the bill for the roadway’s cost, she said.
The town began acquiring land for the connector in 2006 when it purchased 209 NW Broadway for $250,000. The new road would begin at this location with current plans placing its terminus near the Joseph Libbey House at 308 North Main St. Conard said that it’s unlikely this road will be straight.
The town recently sold 209 Broadway “as is” to Cecil Stuurmans for $112,000 cash minus a 40-foot easement. The town council had deemed the remainder of the property to be surplus to the town’s needs.
The town had initially planned on demolishing the home and would not have recouped any costs involved, Conard said.
But when the town realized the property was large enough to conform with town standards even with the removal of the easement, the plan evolved to allow the town to get some of its money back, she said.
The house at 209 Broadway was first listed for sale with Windermere Real Estate in April 2011 for $165,000, and the lower price reflected the value of the property minus the value of the right of way.
According to Conard, two offers were made and then withdrawn during the feasibility studies.
With the continued real estate downturn and a new market analysis, the list price was reduced to $125,000 for the “fixer-upper” and it was relisted in April 2012, Conard said.
“It was the desire of the town to sell ‘as is’ without making any investment in improving the property,” Conard said, adding that it would be difficult to estimate the magnitude and cost of making the repairs.
A plumbing leak had caused mold to grow on the ceiling in the lower level, and the extent of the mold in the remainder of the house was unknown.
The mold analysis, which would have involved cutting into the walls, could have also led to the discovery of additional problems – and a hefty price tag for repairs.
The town did not want to get into a situation in which it was forced into upgrading the property, Conard said.
“It could have opened up a can of worms,” Conard said. “We were told that at the reduced price, it might be attractive to some buyers ‘as is.’”
Potential buyers who needed financing encountered problems with mortgage lenders that wanted repairs made in advance of the sale, Conard said.
The proximity of the easement for the road at the edge of the home also discouraged some buyers, according to Sara Sherman, the listing agent with Windermere Real Estate.
Conard said the fourth offer of $112,000 cash was an accurate reflection of the local market and the condition of the house.
The two-story three bedroom, one and half bath home was built in 1977. It is 1,535 square feet.