Detroit approves lot purchase program
Detroit —The Detroit City Council on Tuesday approved the transfer of about 10,000 parcels of vacant city land to the Detroit Land Bank to be used for residents to purchase lots next to theirs for $100.
The council had earlier rejected a transfer of nearly 39,000 parcels, saying the program was too broad. Instead, council members worked out a deal with Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr to target the six neighborhoods where the city has received federal "hardest hit" funds. The "hardest hit" fund areas are where the city is targeting its demolition efforts.
The council unanimously passed the measure.
City Council members did not support transferring the larger number of parcels primarily because they were unsure whether the program would be successful. There would be no way to get the land back if the initiative didn't work, council members have said.
Councilwoman Mary Sheffield was pleased, saying Tuesday that the compromise plan gives residents an opportunity to bid on "side lots" that many have already been taking care of. It also gives the council more time to assess how the initiative will work, she said.
"It means a quick and easy process to get side lots," Sheffield said. "It gives us an opportunity to make sure the program works and is effective for residents too."
With Tuesday's action, the Detroit Land Bank Authority can now begin selling lots to residents at a planned price of $100 each.
The city wants to sell the properties to neighbors to get them back on the tax rolls. Hundreds of city residents are already taking care of vacant lots near their homes for planting and gardening.
"We finally came to a conclusion," Spivey said. "We voted on about 10,000 properties, parcels in the hardest-hit fund. Now we can have our residents begin to purchase those side lots and as they begin to purchase those we will begin to add to the Land Bank."