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City considers buying fire-damaged lot 12/14/2000

The vacant lot at 300 First St. in Farmington may not be vacant for much longer.

Since the duplex on the property burned during the winter of 1997-98, the land has sat vacant. Now the City of Farmington's Housing and Redevelopment Authority is set to begin negotiations with the property owner to buy the land. If the city were to buy the land, they would demolish and remove the foundation, then await redevelopment proposals. The land is zoned residential.

The owner of the land, Dave King, had asked city permission to move a new duplex to the site. He received permission in June 1999 to do just that. The permission he was granted, however, expired after one year. Since King had not followed through with his plan, the conditional use permit he was granted was revoked.

That left no plans for the property, so David Olson, the city's community development director, on Monday proposed to the HRA that he begin negotiations with King. That permission was granted to Olson by the commissioners.

Olson hopes to be able to negotiate a deal with King in the coming months, so the city will own the property by summertime.

"We've opted to at least take the initial step of having an appraisal prepared and the property owner consented to that," Olson said.

How would the city pay for the land? Olson has held preliminary discussions with the Dakota County Community Development Agency. He learned from those conversations that the property would qualify for the use of federal Community Development Block Grants.

Now the negotiations will begin, and Olson hopes to see the plan take shape quickly.

"If, in the next few months we could reach an agreement, it would be great," he said. "I don't know if that's going to happen, but that's our timeframe."

Olson said there are no immediate plans for redevelopment on the site.

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