Coon Rapids continues scattered sites acquisitions

The city of Coon Rapids’ scattered sites acquisition program will continue for another year.

The Coon Rapids Housing and Redevelopment Authority, which comprises the seven members of the Coon Rapids City Council, July 16 authorized staff to acquire up to three properties over the next year for the program.

This has been an annual authorization by the authority, the last one occurring July 17, 2012.

Through the scattered sites program, the authority purchases and demolishes blighted or substandard houses, then sells the lots to developers to build higher quality homes, according to Matt Brown, city community development specialist.

Passing the resolution authorizing staff to purchase the homes allows the city to acquire bank-owned properties in a timely manner through the First Look program, which allows local governments and qualified developers to purchase properties owned by participating financial institutions at a discounted price before they go on the market, Brown wrote in a memo to the housing authority.

“Because the HRA must act quickly when properties become available, there is not sufficient time to have the HRA consider individual purchase agreements at scheduled meetings,” he wrote.

But the housing and redevelopment authority has put in place parameters for property acquisition for the scattered sites program.

• The purchase price of each property cannot exceed $70,000.

• The properties are blighted and in substandard condition and the cost of correcting deficiencies exceeds the value of the property.

• Prior to the acquisition of each property, staff will conduct appropriate due diligence to protect the authority’s interest.

In the last year, the authority has only acquired and demolished one property at 8554 East River Road through the program, according to Brown.

“Staff is currently pursuing purchase of another property,” Brown said.

However, in the last year the authority has sold three scattered site lots – 9943 Ibis St., 12490 Thrush St. and 9065 East River Road – to builders to construct new homes.

And when they purchase scattered site properties, the developer has to submit plans for the new home that meet standards put in place by the city before the authority approves the purchase agreement.

At this time, the housing and redevelopment authority owns two single-family lots – 8554 East River Road and 9065 East River Road – that were acquired for the scattered sites program.

Peter Bodley is at
[email protected]