When you enter the Chamber there is a small table with agenda and pink forms for members of the public to fill out if they want to make a public comment.
Most committee meetings are held with very few members of the public in attendance.
The 10:00 a.m. meeting was the Chicago City Council Committee on Housing and Real Estate.
The Committee approved two ordinances to execute leases at two city owned locations.
A renewal of the lease at 1427-29 S. Keeler to Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago for use as a play lot. The lease will run until December 31, 2016. Rent one buck.
A lease of vacant property at 2954 West Lawrence to a non-profit, Coalition of Limited English Speaking Elderly, which serves immigrants. Rent one buck.
The organization received a grant from the United States Department of Human Services to create an urban garden/farm on the location. I found this puzzling but the organization works with refugees who were “skilled farmers” in their countries of origin. The grant will be used to build raised garden beds, a hoop house, a farm stand and benches. Excess produce will be sold to residents of the area and local restaurants. (I assume they are going to use raised beds because of the soil quality or lack thereof.)
The lease runs until December 31, 2015 and can be terminated by either party on sixty days written notice, except the city can not cancel the lease during the growing season.
Then the Committee approved four separate ordinances each permitting the sale of city owned property: an industrial vacant parcel to Lumber Street LLC in the 25th Ward for $750,000; a vacant lot to be used in perpetuity as a parking lot to the Centennial Missionary Baptist Church in the 3rd Ward for $17, 500; an industrial building and adjacent land to be used as a multi-use facility by the New Life Covenant Oakwood Church in the 8th Ward for $65,000; and a frame two-flat in the 30th Ward for $5,000 pursuant to the Preserving Communities Together (PCT)Program.
It was the sale of a property for $5,000 that made me pick this Committee meeting to attend.
After the meeting I spoke to a man with the Department of Housing and Economic Development. He told me where to find the list of city owned property. You can get to it here. Its 245 pages long with 34 entries per page. That’s 8,330 parcels that the city owns. I was surprised to see six parcels in my ward, the 43rd, listed.
The PCT Program has designated properties that are available for $5,000 plus holding cost.
I. PCT properties conveyed to developer for re-sale generally require the property to be rehabilitated and re-sold to an income-qualified owner-occupant within 12 months of acquisition. Financing for the costs of acquisition and rehabilitation of the property in the form of an acquisition and rehab mortgage, construction mortgage, letter of credit, or construction escrow, and evidence of property insurance shall be required prior to closing.
II. Applicants can apply to acquire properties to rehab and keep as their principal residence. In such cases, the purchaser must generally meet income guidelines of household income of 80% of area median income or less.