Stoup property sold for $100,000

Published 11:06 am Friday, January 27, 2023

After nearly 15 years without definitive plans for the controversial Stoup property at the base of the James River Bridge, Isle of Wight County supervisors have voted to sell the land.

On Jan. 18, the supervisors accepted a $100,000 offer from Ragged Island Oysters, which, according to County Administrator Randy Keaton, plans to use the land to harvest and sell oysters. The land would include a cold-storage facility and possibly a small building where people could buy a bushel of oysters to take home.

According to past reporting by The Smithfield Times, the supervisors had voted at a late-night session in 2008 to buy the 1-acre parcel for just under $1 million – though it had been tax-assessed at only $335,000 at the time – following closed-door negotiations, and without a plan for the land other than vague references to it being the “gateway” to the county.

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According to County Attorney Bobby Jones, the seven lots totaling 1.07 acres that make up the Stoup property contain “very little usable space,” since much of the land is in a resource protection area, or RPA. An RPA refers to environmentally sensitive lands alongside or near the shorelines of waterways. Isle of Wight County’s Chesapeake Bay preservation ordinance mandates a 100-foot-wide vegetated buffer adjacent to an RPA. Development is prohibited in the buffer area for the purpose of minimizing soil erosion.

The $100,000 offer is just above the roughly $97,800 current tax assessment for all seven lots, though the Stoup property’s assessed value has varied widely over the past 15 years.

As of 2012, when the county tried unsuccessfully to sell the land for $500,000, the seven panels were assessed collectively at just over $841,000.

The supervisors voted unanimously to accept the $100,000 offer, noting none of the current board members had been in office when the $1 million purchase was made.

Board Chairman William McCarty called the sale having to “make lemonade” from the lemons the board had been dealt by inheriting the Stoup purchase.