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Land Auction Possible for Park Point

Updated: 07/16/2014 6:13 PM
Created: 07/16/2014 4:46 PM WDIO.com
By: Briggs LeSavage
blesavage@wdio.com

The Duluth City Council is scheduled to vote Monday night on whether or not to allow the sale of 26 tax-forfeited land parcels on Park Point. 

This move is part of St. Louis County's plan to sell all its tax-forfeited land on Park Point, Keith Hamre, director of the City Department of Planning and Construction Services, said. Because the land plots are on Park Point, Hamre said the county has to get approval from both the City of Duluth and the City Council before they can go ahead with the sale. 

Although St. Louis County controls the land, the county does lease portions to be used as gardens or docks. Now, Hamre said the city is looking to pass off their management to either private or commercial owners. 

"(The plots are) adjacent to existing residential and could be developed into single family building lots or ... could be a townhouse development or duplex development," Hamre said.

He said many of the plots are better suited for private ownership. It will also help the tax base to continue collecting taxes on those properties, Hamre said. 

Some of those 26 properties are underwater and Duluth City Councilor Sharla Gardner said she worked to changed legislation this spring to allow those residents who live directly in front of those underwater properties first dibs in a land auction. Past legislation read that any adjacent property owners would have an equal right to the land. 

"I just felt, for the protection of the neighborhood and for the protection of the people who were using this, it is really important that they at least have the first right to bid on this," Gardner said. 

Gardener said there were originally 33 parcels being considering for sale, but after more consideration, they discovered seven of those parcels didn't fit with the Park Point Small Area Plan. 

Hamre said if the council approves this resolution at Monday night's meeting, the county will be given a final parcel list and then go ahead with authorizing the land auction for any interested bidders. 

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