Courthouse neighbor responds to clerk’s letter

Published 9:52 am Monday, November 6, 2017

To the Editor:
In response to the letter to the editor written by Mr. Rick Francis, Southampton’s Clerk of Court, published Nov. 3, 2017, I would like to correct the statements pertaining to my property. Mr. Francis wrote “There has been a Facebook offer to sell about three acres of courthouse-adjacent land (upon which a historically registered house sits) for $800,000 — though tax assessed at $300,000.”
Though we were never approached by the county, I personally contacted two members of the courthouse advisory committee and let them know that we would be willing to sell our property which consists of 2.8 acres adjacent to the Courthouse. At a later date, I discussed the property during a phone conversation with one of these committee members and was asked for a sale price. I told him that for $400,000 we would be willing to sell our land and home. This was not a Facebook offer. We have also made friends and other county residents aware of our offer and posted on Facebook with this same price of $400,000. Where Mr. Francis came up with his figure of almost twice the asking price is unknown. Another inaccuracy in his letter is that our house is historically registered. The only application to a historical registry that we are aware of is from the 1960’s when the previous owners applied but were denied due to changes to the original structure. The original structure, which consists of four rooms, was built in the 1790s but the house was moved and added on to numerous times starting in the 1920s.
We regret that this correction will not be published in print until after the Nov. 7 referendum, but want to make it clear that we have no interest in taking advantage of our fellow Southampton County taxpayers as Mr. Francis seemed to imply in his letter.

Rhett and Julia Owens