The Eudora School Board at a special meeting Monday rejected an offer by two local developers to purchase district-owned land to be developed into single-family homes.
The board discussed the matter behind closed doors in a 40-minute executive session and offered no explanation for the rejection when the public was invited back in to the meeting.
Supt. Dan Bloom said only that the full board could not agree on what to do with the land, resulting in the rejection. Additionally, he said there were no immediate plans for the land and that the board had not instructed him to take further action in seeking a buyer.
The original proposal, submitted by Larry Midyett and George Waters at the board's Oct. 9 meeting, called for the two men to buy about 60 acres of an 80-acre tract called the Ott property in the southwest corner of the city for $3,000 an acre. The proposal also asked the district to pay 25 percent of the cost to install streets and sewers that would serve the school.
THE SCHOOL district would have retained 20 acres for a future school site and about seven acres already were committed to the city for use as a city park, neither of which were included in the proposal.
The men planned to turn the land into 180 single-family lots, which they would develop with homes in the $60,000 price range. The lots would be about 7,500 square feet.
The board rejected the offer, again in executive session, offering no explanation why it was rejected.
Bloom said this morning that a possible second offer to buy the land conveyed to the board by Marian Swain, an agent with Kansas Land Sales of Baldwin, probably helped sway the board against the proposal at hand.
Swain told the board that she had been approached by investors interested in the land. As she was leaving the meeting, Swain told district patron Ernie Simon that the price offered by Midyett and Waters was "dirt cheap." Simon, in turn, passed the word on to the board.
AT THE SPECIAL meeting Monday, the board met for about an hour before Midyett and Waters were scheduled to arrive, hoping to reach a consensus on what to do with the property and a counter offer written by Bloom and board attorney John Immel.
The counter offer called for the land to be sold for $4,000 an acre and for the district to not share any of the street and sewer cost. The counter offer, however, never was discussed with the two developers.
When Midyett and Waters arrived, Midyett told the board that they had revised their proposal. The purchase price remained at $3,000 an acre, but the district would not be asked to share street and sewer costs. Also, the two men would buy the land to be used as a city park and donate it to the city.
Midyett told the board that the purchase price could not exceed $3,000 and that he and his partner could not make the offer any more attractive because of development costs the two would incur, saying development costs would run about $10,000 for each lot.
"WE'RE TALKING about a substantial amount of money to get this started," Midyett said.
The two men also have to take into account the holding costs involved, adding that the lots would have to stand idle for some time before they all are developed, he said.
One concern expressed by board members Bob Rice and Rick Williams was that the board had never agreed to sell the land or by what method, a factor that also concerned Midyett and Waters.
"The board still has not said if it is going to sell it (land) or not," Waters said. "We were hoping to at least find that out tonight, but we didn't."
The two men said they were dissappointed the offer was rejected, but said they were not surprised by the decision.
"I never felt there was a consensus among the board members," Waters said.