At a press conference in a residential neighborhood on Pleasant Street today, Mayor Jon Mitchell announced the launch of an exciting new program designed to reduce the number of vacant lots in New Bedford. Under the new program, eligible property owners may acquire, at a deeply discounted price, vacant city-owned lots bordering their property. New Bedford’s “Side Yard Program” is a new opportunity for eligible property owners to expand and enhance their property while at the same time returning vacant lots to productive reuse.
“We’ve developed a pathway for the transformation of blighted empty lots into gardens, side yards, off-street parking as well as a range of other productive reuses. This program offers a great bargain to eligible landowners as the cost to purchase a vacant city-owned lot ranges from $999.00 to just $250.00,” said Mayor Mitchell.
The lot price is a fixed cost as determined by the lot size. Approved abutters will be required to survey their existing lot as well as the new lot in order to properly combine the two lots and record them with the Bristol County Registry of Deeds. Upon the successful recording of the new lot, the City will refund the owners for the original acquisition price to assist with the engineering and recording fees.
Mayor Mitchell also said the City will market the program in the coming months to ensure more property owners are made aware of this opportunity to improve their lots and beautify their neighborhood. Marketing efforts will be targeted to property owners abutting available lots.
City Councilor Henry Bousquet said, “As the Ward 3 New Bedford City Councilor, I support initiatives like the new Side Yard Sales Program to help preserve green space, aid in getting unbuildable surplus land back on the city tax rolls and providing a valuable service to our taxpaying property owners. I encourage everyone bordering a vacant lot to purchase that property and build a garden or give your family room to spread out!”
The Side Yard Sales program will be operated by the New Bedford Treasurer’s Office. To begin the process of acquiring a publicly owned lot, property owners must complete and return an application. The application is available at http:///www.newbedford-ma.gov/treasurers/treasurers.html .
The City guidebook and one page informational sheet on the program is a great source of information. The guidebook contains a range of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS) about the process including eligibility requirements, cost of ownership, and terms and conditions of the sale.