North Dakota city proposes plan to address blighted homes
MINOT, N.D. (AP) — Officials in Minot are working to address properties that have been neglected since the devastating flood that hit the northern North Dakota city five years ago.
The City Council met Tuesday and proposed using $800,000 of a federal grant for a program to purchase blighted properties, which are also known as “zombie” homes. The council also proposed using another $800,000 to create a small business revolving loan fund, the Minot Daily News reported .
The plan would re-allocate unused money from a 2012 Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery program.
Under the proposed involuntary acquisition program, owners of blighted properties would be offered current value on their homes in the buyout. Landowners neighboring the properties could also purchase the adjacent lots, and at a discount if the lot is kept as green space.
The former voluntary program that helped residents acquire homes after the flood valued them at pre-flood prices.
“We do not want to reward homeowners who have not maintained their properties,” said John Zakian, Minot’s disaster resilience program manager.
There are currently 30 blighted properties listed as abandoned in Minot, according to the building inspection office. It’s unknown how many properties will be eligible for the program.
The city plans to request a matching amount for the small business loan fund from the federal Economic Development Administration.
The council will seek public comment on the plan over a 30-day period.
Information from: Minot Daily News, http://www.minotdailynews.com