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Dunedin crafting policy to sell city-owned surplus properties

DUNEDIN — The city is crafting a policy that would allow it to sell as many as three dozen surplus city-owned properties — a move that could generate hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue.

During preliminary budget planning this year, Dunedin officials say they discovered at least 34 such properties including homes, small easements and vacant lots ranging in size from 500 square feet to 7 acres. The city has acquired the parcels over the years through gifts from Pinellas County, foreclosures and other means.

Officials also realized that Dunedin has no formal guidelines for selling its property, outside of a vague 1977 city ordinance. So they've written a policy spelling out the rules about the appraisal, marketing, city staff input and commission vote that will be needed to sell surplus property.

City commissioners will review this proposal at their public meeting at 6:30 tonight.

"By putting some of these large properties back onto the tax rolls, it allows the city to grow and generate some revenue," said Matthew Campbell, assistant to the city manager.

In the cases of the foreclosed homes, "it would allow possibly someone to come in and tear down the derelict houses" and reduce neighborhood blight, Campbell said. "We're looking out for the common good of the neighborhoods."

Campbell thinks this is the first time Dunedin has addressed the sale of surplus property.

"The city's been in a continual growth mode," he says, "We haven't really had a need to sell property until now."

He says about five of the surplus properties are readily marketable, including:

• A 1.7-acre tract off Virginia Street and Greenbriar Boulevard in southeast Dunedin. It formerly housed a water treatment plant. Pinellas County moved its operations and donated the land to Dunedin about 20 years ago.

• Two homes near Our Lady of Lourdes Church, which were recently acquired through foreclosure.

• A vacant lot on Wood Street near downtown.

The remainder are mostly small easements, or tiny lots the city used for purposes such as installing utilities or drainage lines. Those lots could be sold back to the adjoining property owners, Campbell said.

The proposed rules for land sales would call for input by city staffers, who might want to retain some of the parcels. And all land would be appraised, at city cost, before being offered for purchase.

"This wouldn't be a fire sale, where these are sold on the courthouse steps," Campbell said. "The goal is to obtain the highest amount of proceeds from these properties by selling them at or above appraised value."

Keyonna Summers can be reached at ksummers@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4153.

>>At a glance

Proposed rules to sell city property

Here's a snapshot of the property sale rules proposed under Resolution 2011-14:

• The City Commission, city manager and staff have the opportunity to provide input on properties and their potential sale.

• A supermajority City Commission vote is required to approve a sale.

• Letters of interest to purchase must be submitted to the City Commission.

• All property to be offered for public sale must first be appraised at city cost. The buyer will reimburse the city upon closing.

• All properties are to be marketed and sold on an "as-is" basis.

Dunedin crafting policy to sell city-owned surplus properties 06/15/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 15, 2011 7:06pm]
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