SLP council puts off decision to sell vacant residential lots

Although the market is improving, the Spring Lake Park City Council is not sure if it is ready to sell four vacant lots it owns.

After a brief discussion at its meeting Dec. 3, the council voted to table the decision.

The four city-owned lots on McKinley Street have been appraised by the city assessor between $70,000 and $80,000, said Assistant City Administrator Dan Buchholtz.

The lots’ convenient location, proximity to Lakeside Park and current home mortgages were used to make the appraisal, he said.

Staff is not sure that the market has improved enough to support the appraised values as a similar third-of-an-acre property on Laddie Road sold for $60,000 in August, Buchholtz said.

The estimated value is too high, said Councilmember Dale Dahl.

The lots will sell if the price was brought down to $60,000, he said.

“Why would we sell for less,” said Mayor Cindy Hanson.

If the council decides to sell, she would rather see what the market will bear, she said.

Why not wait five years and see if the city can make an additional $30,000 on each property, Hanson said.

The city had planned to use the land proceeds to build a parks and recreation building, but it will not be able to do that selling the land at $60,000, said City Administrator Barb Nelson.

“The market has improved and is getting better,” said Councilmember Bill Nash.

Selling the property would bring in more money than the city is getting now, said Councilmember Jeanne Mason.

If the city were to sell, Nelson said she would want to see a stipulation added that would require a house be built in a given time frame rather than letting a speculator hold the property and build or sell when the market improved.

The council decided to table the decision to allow the Park and Recreation Commission a say as it will impact the future parks and recreation building project.

Tammy Sakry is at tammy.sakry@ecm-inc.com

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