Large Lots applicants have until January 31 to submit applications to purchase up to two vacant lots for $1- ONE DOLLAR on the block where they currently own land or property. The Large Lots program allows residential and business land and property owners to acquire additional land in their neighborhood for development or creative use. Interested individuals can obtain the Large Lots application - available on line only - at www.LargeLots.org. Applications must be completed and submitted on line. Application completion assistance is available through Teamwork Englewood. For information call: (773) 488-6600.
This year, the City expanded the Large Lots Program to include more neighborhoods on the South and West sides. Through this program, property owners can apply to purchase up to two vacant properties (per property owned) on their block for $1 each.
“Yes, that means a purchaser can potentially own four lots on one block,” said Jeanne Chandler, Director, City of Chicago, Department of Planning & Development. “The city is providing an opportunity for residents to claim and transform empty vacant lots that can sometimes be a magnate for undesired elements.”
Linda Maalik purchased a vacant lot that was adjacent to her home and later was awarded Creative Placemaking funds to beautify her lot incorporating art.
“I like the security of having control over the extra space next to my home and being able to beatify my yard and neighborhood thru the art project.” Maalik says she has maintained the property next to her home for years to deter crime and control rodent population growth. “I now have a large space where my grandchildren can play in safety. Englewood homeowner Nanette Tucker also created a safe art space for children with the funds and Sammiria's innovative use of lettering on her fence reminds all to remain connected with nature.
“To expedite the application process residents can complete the following prior to submitting an application: (1) get a copy of their current deed, (2) make sure the lot you want is owned by the city and (3) pay up any unpaid bills with the city,” said Perry Gunn, Executive Director, Teamwork Englewood, one of the community partners conducting outreach and assisting applicants through the process.
There are over 1,000 lots available for purchase in Englewood in the open lottery and priority is given to adjacent lot applicants. If the lot is not owned by the city, residents are encouraged to negotiate with private property owners and land lords to participate in the program. For more information visit: largelots.org. You can also contact Teamwork Englewood at www.teamworkenglewood.org or call: (773) 488-6600.Large Lots Frequently Asked Questions:
• The applicant must already own property on the same block on which the lot is located (note: Please note, the property does not need to be owner-occupied) – the eligible lot can be across the street or the alley, can be a few doors down or adjacent from the property the applicant already owns
• The applicant must fill out the online application via largelots.org as the first step in the process. The applicant must be able to prove ownership by uploading their deed with their online application.?The applicant can be a business, a nonprofit, or a person – churches are NOT eligible
• Applicants can apply for up to two available lots; if more than one applicant applies for the same lot, it will go to the property owner adjacent to the lot; if none or both of the applicants are adjacent, there will be a lottery to decide who will purchase the lot
• If the initial online application is accepted (includes a deed, information accurate) the applicant will then be asked to complete and submit an economic disclosure statement. If the applicant owes any money to the City, those debts must be paid before their application can proceed. This includes child support.
• Aldermen do review the list of lots and must provide their support of the transaction via a letter before being submitted to city council for approval of the sales (in bulk). ?The process from application to closing takes 6-9 months. Owner requirements – once through application process:
• At the time of closing, pay $1 for the lot, and $56 to record the deed (for each lot purchased, up to two)
• Own the lot for 5 years, after which point the owner has the right to sell the lot
• All lots are zoned residential so any development of lots needs to conform with both the zoning and building codes. The owner may seek a zoning variance
• Owners must comply with the nuisance ordinance regarding vacant lots – meaning they must be maintained and fenced (unless adjacent to the property they currently own).
• Owners are responsible for all property taxes moving forward from the date of closing (but none before) (Note: The Senior Freeze program only applies to one property and it has to be a home – not a vacant lot).
• If there was illegal dumping on the lot prior to purchase, the owner is responsible for clean up once the lot is sold to them.
Neighborhoods that have already participated in Large Lots include: Green Healthy Neighborhoods area (Englewood, Washington Park, & Woodlawn), East Garfield Park, Austin, and Roseland/Pullman and Auburn Gresham; over 500 lots have been deeded thus far.
LISC is an official partner to the City on this program and maintains the largelots.org website (working with DataMade) and connects with community partners to conduct outreach and assist applicants.