If city doesn’t need the land, why not sell?

Fairmont City Council dove into an interesting issue this week: what to do with small parcels of lakefront property that the city owns but that are maintained and used by citizens living nearby.

In the pertinent case in question, a local resident has two boats at a dock at a dead end along West 10th Street. Someone called this in to City Hall, which told the citizen he was in violation of local law. The citizen, in turn, said he had been using and improving the site for 30 years, having received permission to do so. Council members agreed, granting him permission to keep doing so. The city is also going to consider selling off such parcels, and that is a great idea.

We believe citizens will benefit most from this arrangement. Consider the individual who has been using the West 10th Street site. He doesn’t need any ongoing complaints from others about what he is doing. And he could use the protection of actually owning the site, since anyone could jump in to use it, since it is publicly owned.

The city, for its part, can get these parcels back on the tax rolls and avoid any accusations of favoritism it might face when it lets one person utilize the land.

Finally, it is simply better for land to be privately owned. This clarifies and simplifies things for all involved.