City of Utica offering discount on vacant lots for those living adjacent

By WKTV News

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - The City of Utica is having a winter sale on vacant properties inside the city.

When a homeowner falls three years behind on property taxes, the city takes over ownership of the lot, leaving a current total of roughly 400 vacant homes in Utica.

"The Urban Renewal Agency was basically set up as the real estate agency for the City of Utica," said Gene Allen, Marketing Director for the Urban Renewal Agency.

Normally, the cost of a vacant lot is $750, but from now until May 1, if you live adjacent to one of these properties, you can buy one for $250, plus any fees.

"You figure 400 lots, they are scattered all over the city and when the spring gets here, the Parks Department has to maintain them," Allen said. "Our goal is to sell as many of those as we can between now and springtime. Not only will we bring in a lot of extra money for the city, but we'll be saving them a lot of money because the Parks Department won't have to be out there maintaining them."

Allen says that the sale is only for residential lots and does not apply to commercial lots. It is also only open for people who own the property adjacent to it. That means if someone lives across town, down the street, etc, and they want that lot, they're going to pay the standard price. However, if the lot is right next door to you...

"We'll give you a break," Allen said.

Allen went on to say that the Urban Renewal Agency hopes this move will save the city the cost of maintaining the properties, and it will also bring in more tax dollars.

"The big purpose on all of this, on any of the properties that the city owns, is revitalization of the neighborhoods," Allen said. "We want to see these homes occupied. We want to see them kept up. We want to see them back on the tax rolls."

If you are interested in purchasing one of the properties, you can contact the Urban Renewal Agency to take a tour of the lot.

In addition to the $250 purchase price, there are developer and recording fees that total around $700.

Allen said many of the properties can be viewed at the City's Urban Renewal Department Facebook Page.

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