Program will Allow Englewood Residents to Purchase Vacant Lots for $1; First Initiative Under Mayor Emanuel’s Five Year Housing Plan
CHICAGO–(ENEWSPF)–March 20, 2014. A new Department of Planning & Development (DPD) land sale program will enable homeowners, block-clubs and non-profit groups in greater Englewood to purchase City-owned land for $1 per parcel, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced today. The Large Lot Pilot Program is the first initiative implemented as part of Mayor Emanuel’s “Five-Year Housing Plan,” recently approved by City Council, which will invest $1.3 billion in spending from 2014-2018 to create, improve, and preserve more than 41,000 units of housing.
“By streamlining the process for providing City-owned vacant lots to residents, the Large Lot Program will help return empty land to productive use,” Mayor Emanuel said. “Residents and block clubs will use the land to expand the yards around their homes, to create gardens on their block, or for beautification, housing, or for other purposes.”
The Large Lot Pilot Program will be launched on a pilot basis within Englewood, where the City owns several hundred vacant lots that will be eligible for this program. DPD developed the program after hosting community meetings and working with local aldermen.
“The application and sales process will likely entail a matter of weeks, versus the six-month or longer time frames currently required by the City’s existing land sale programs,” said DPD Commissioner Andrew J. Mooney. “The Large Lot program will help residents and block clubs to add value to their homes, their blocks, and their communities by putting underutilized land into productive use. It is neighborhood improvement from the ground up.”
Among the requirements to qualify, applicants must: own property on the same block in the pilot area; be current on property taxes; and have no financial obligations to the City. Lots proposed for purchase must be owned by the City, be vacant, and have residential (R) zoning. Properties will be sold “as is” via a quit claim deed. Eligible applicants will be able to purchase up to two parcels under the program.
The Large Lot Program is the first initiative launched by the City as part of its Five Year Housing Plan, which will invest $1.3 billion in spending from 2014-2018 to create, improve, and preserve more than 41,000 units of housing. DPD developed the plan with help from more than 120 housing experts, activists, builders and owners. The process was driven by a 20-member steering committee supported by a 60-member advisory group.
Program applications and the pilot area boundaries will available for 30 days on the City’s web site at www.cityofchicago.org/dpd.