By MARC VALERO
SEBRING — The City of Sebring is looking to purchase the old Bank of America parking lot and drive-through teller parcel to provide parking for nearby city-owned properties and for overflow parking for the downtown.
The property is being offered to the city for $200,000, according to an agenda item by City Administrator Scott Noethlich for the Oct. 15 City Council meeting.
The property at 1960 Lakeview Drive, Lot 5, which is also bordered by Franklin Street, is owned by Sebring Flea Market, LLC and has an assessed and taxable value of $179,598, according to the Highlands County Property Appraiser website.
According to Florida Department of State, Division of Corporations, Sebring City Councilman Charles Lowrance is the registered agent for Sebring Flea Market LLC.
The property has strategic development value for the city as it is in close proximity to the following city-owned properties: City Pier Beach, Jack Stroup Civic Center, Highlands Art League and the Highlands Little Theatre, the agenda item states.
Staff does not believe any other real property in the vicinity of these properties would fill the city’s need and that this property uniquely fills the city’s purpose, the agenda states.
The agenda shows potential layouts, with an overlay of the existing property, for angled parking and straight-in parking with both layouts creating about 140 parking spaces.
Since the parcel is currently owned by a business entity that Lowrance has an ownership interest in, an opinion will be sought from the office of the Florida Commission on Ethics that the sale would be in compliance with the applicable ethics laws, according to the agenda.
The requested motion is to instruct city staff to obtain an appraisal on the property and instruct the city attorney to draft a contract for the purchase and seek an opinion from the office of the Florida Commission on Ethics.