Land owners in Stark County, Ohio, now can acquire tax-delinquent lots adjacent to their own property for a $100 fee. The Stark County Land Reutilization Corporation approved a side-lot program that aims to address vacant and blighted properties in the area; Canton, Ohio, alone maintains nearly 5,000 vacant properties, according to a Canton Rep article.
A property owner must first submit a request to acquire a property. The Land Reutilization Corporation then would clear it of any delinquent taxes or assessments and absorb the foreclosure costs. Restrictions on the program prohibit individuals who are tax delinquent or who own a partnership, limited liability company or corporation from applying for properties.
According to the article, Canton is receiving $1 million from the Moving Ohio Forward Demolition Grant program to remove approximately 250 homes this summer, at an average cost of $8,000 per structure. The city will provide an additional $1 million match.
A number of other local governments have implemented similar programs. The Cuyahoga County (Ohio) Land Reutilization Corporation also allows property owners to acquire adjacent vacant lots listed on its website. At the city level, Baltimore has a side-lot initiative in place, as does Pittsburgh, which sells lots unsuitable for building purposes for approximately $400. From the beginning of 2008 through the first half of 2010, Pittsburgh sold 193 properties under the program.