Mayor Rawlings-Blake Applauds Approval of New Policy to Revive Vacant Side Lots, Strengthen Neighborhoods

Release Date: August 17, 2011

New policy builds on Vacants to Value initiative.

BALTIMORE, MD. (August 17, 2011) – Today, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake applauded the Board of Estimates approval of a new policy to streamline the disposition of City-owned vacant lots to property owners. The new policy, created by the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), allows property owners to purchase City-owned vacant side lots adjacent to their properties for a fixed price.

 “This new policy eliminates the red tape that discourages homeowners from investing in the revitalization of their neighborhoods,” said Mayor Rawlings-Blake. “I want to thank Commissioner Graziano and his staff for identifying a responsible solution to make our communities stronger.”

 The Land Resources Division of DHCD strategically acquires and manages vacant or abandoned properties. Currently, there are a number of City-owned vacant lots that are adjacent to occupied properties. Many property owners have expressed interest in extending the boundaries of their property by acquiring a City-owned lot. The efforts of these residents increase property values and create social and environmental benefits that beautify and strengthen Baltimore's neighborhoods.

“Many of my constituents have been maintaining “the lot next door” for years,” added City Coucilwoman Mary Pat Clarke. “This program invites them to finally make it their own, protecting their homes from unwanted development and ensuring a right-sizing and greening of our neighborhoods. Thanks, Housing and Madame Mayor, for the opportunity so many of our home-owners have wanted for so long.   

A qualified home owner must be current on all taxes and water bills and have no open citations. The owner must also agree that the lot will not be developed for 10 years. Construction on the purchased lots is subject to zoning approval and is restricted to the following items: deck, garage or shed, temporary storage container, or gazebo. DHCD will sell lots to qualified home owner occupants for $500.00 per 1500 square feet (.33/SF). Non-owner occupants can purchase a lot for $1,000.00 per 1500 square feet (.66/SF).

The new policy and the recently announced Power in Dirt initiative are important compliments to the Mayor’s Vacants to Value initiative.  Power in Dirt is the City’s first comprehensive plan to specifically address vacant lots by engaging residents and organizations in their sustainable revitalization. The Power in Dirt initiative reduces systemic barriers that prevent residents and organizations from revitalizing vacant lots, creates new incentives, and provides support to them through the entire process.

Vacants to Value is Mayor Rawlings-Blake’s comprehensive 6-point strategy to reduce blight. The initiative seeks to drive growth and reinvestment in Baltimore's neighborhoods by streamlining the sale of vacant city property, strengthening code enforcement efforts to promote rehabilitation, and providing targeted incentives for homebuyers and developers who invest in vacant homes.


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