MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Local News

September 16, 2012

Housing authority gets land

14 parcels of property come from county through city to agency

Muskogee Housing Authority is picking up property around town at discount prices for future building projects.

Muskogee County Commissioners approved the conveyance of 14 parcels of property to the city of Muskogee. City Attorney Roy Tucker requested the conveyance on behalf of the housing authority.

The parcels were obtained by the county through delinquent tax sales. Muskogee County Treasurer Kelly Garrett said conveying those properties to the city reduces the county’s maintenance costs and puts the properties back on the tax rolls.

While its acquisitions have picked up recently, Muskogee Housing Authority’s Executive Director J.D. Foster said it could be some time before the parcels acquired will be developed.

“We’ve already built 24 houses with grants, and we bought one that was foreclosed to fix up, but we are not doing any big project,” Foster said. “When you find good lots, you go ahead and get them while you can.”

The housing authority is acquiring the property in accordance with an ordinance that allows the city to convey property at minimum costs. The parcels, which are donated by the county to the city, are then declared surplus to the city’s needs and conveyed to qualified applicants for $163, which covers the administrative costs of the conveyance.

To qualify for the program, an available parcel must meet the minimum requirements of a lot which is eligible for constructing a home — the parcel is at least 7,200 square feet or is large enough to meet the setback requirement of 25 feet along the frontage. Owners of property abutting smaller parcels may obtain those at the reduced costs.

Tucker said the housing authority initially requested 18 lots, but only 14 met the requirements of the ordinance that governs the conveyance of surplus property.

“These lots became available out in the Caesar Addition — nobody seems to want them,” Foster said about the county’s most recent donation of land located on the city’s northwest side. “This would be a good area for revitalization.”

Foster said the authority plans to apply for funding that can be used to develop the property presently being acquired. But there are no immediate plans for developing 13 of the 14 lots located between 11th and 17th streets between Wewoka and Tamaroa streets and the 14th parcel within the original townsite.

“It could be years down the road before we are ready to do anything with them,” Foster said. “You’ve got to get them while you can.”

Reach D.E. Smoot at (918) 684-2901 or dsmoot @muskogeephoenix.com.

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