BRAINERD — Brainerd City Council has waived pending assessments on three plots of land to allow Lakes Area Habitat for Humanity to build homes.
The leaders of the association are interested in acquiring the three tax-exempt lots to build single-family homes next year.
The city council’s staff and finance committee heard about the properties at their meeting on Monday, August 15. The first is 1108 Oak St., which is a vacant lot where the county previously demolished a house. There is $4,241.61 in principal and unpaid interest from nuisance assessments on the property for mowing, trash and other citations from 2012-18.
The property also has a lien of $12,000 from a 1983 Community Development Block Grant Program grant, payable only upon transfer of ownership. According to city counsel, city administrator Jennifer Bergman told the committee that there was a 15-year statute of limitations on liens on the property, so the chances the city could perceive on this privilege are slim.
The other two plots are 504 and 506 First Ave. NE, and these are also vacant lots where the county previously demolished the homes. There is $1,301.38 in unpaid principal and interest from the nuisance assessment for mowing, trash and other citations on these properties as well. Habitat for Humanity plans to combine the lots and build a larger single-family home on both lots in 2023.
Kevin Pelkey, executive director of Lakes Area Habitat for Humanity, told the committee Monday that the Oak Street property is particularly attractive because it’s in an area where the city is already struggling to provide affordable housing.
“But I have to tell you, if it’s got $16-17,000 valuations on it, it’s not an attractive lot for me to buy,” Pelkey said. “It will remain vacant for that long, but we would welcome the opportunity.”
Pelkey said Habitat for Humanity just approved families to receive homes in 2023, and almost all of them are Brainerd applicants.
With the council unanimously agreeing to waive the assessments and waive the lien, the county can transfer the lots to the Brainerd Housing and Redevelopment Authority, which can then sell them to Habitat for Humanity at a low cost.
THERESA BOURKE can be reached at
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