City Selling Vacant Lots


Ella Moxley

230 West Lincoln Street is the first abandoned lot up for sale this year.

The City of Oberlin is putting several vacant lots up for sale this year. A West Lincoln street property acquired nearly a year ago will be the first lot for sale. 

The city gained possession of most of the properties at the end of last fall through tax foreclosure and has since been responsible for their upkeep and the demolition of condemned buildings. According to the city’s Director of Planning and Development Carrie Handy, the city owns around 10 vacant lots, and the city pays at least $10,000 a year on mowing alone. 

The lots are all zoned for residential development, and Oberlin City Councilmember Kelley Singleton hopes that families will take interest and bring the properties back into tax production. 

“Every home that’s built, that means a family is there, that means property taxes will come in from the new properties,” Singleton said. “That means income tax from the people who live inside those homes. So it will be a financial boost to the city. It’s not gonna be massive, but you know, every little bit helps.”

The lots would have gone up for sale sooner, but pandemic response efforts took priority over the process of turning the properties around.

“It took us some time to work out the process and get the advertisement right,” Handy said. “Plus we had a lot of other stuff going on with COVID-19 — we’ve done quite a bit as far as trying to come up with programs to help our businesses and our nonprofits and that kind of took priority. We probably could’ve had them out there a little earlier but we wanted to make sure we got a good process to put out there.”

The city is hopeful there will be strong interest in the buildable lots. 

“The Oberlin [housing market] was doing really, really well,” Singleton said. “A lot of people were moving to Oberlin. Houses were going for asking if not more than asking price [in 2020]. There was a demand. I’m not sure if there still is that kind of demand now that, hopefully, we’re seeing the tail end of [the pandemic], but that time may have passed.”

So far things have looked hopeful for the city, which has already received several calls from people interested in buying the lot. 

Bids for the first lot will be accepted until March 12.