Dave and Angelia Olson are planning to build their new home this fall in Superior’s East End.
The couple is the first to take advantage of a new city program that encourages single-family new construction in existing neighborhoods by giving away city-owned land.
Superior officials launched the program in April to return property to the tax rolls that the city accumulated over the last 20 years through acquisition of deeded parcels and tearing down dilapidated structures. Officials have about a dozen parcels they plan to give away for single-family new construction. Despite some interest, the city has not been able to sell the parcels.
The Olsons' plans include building a 1,344-square-foot modular home on a 75-foot by 120-foot lot on East Eighth Street. Construction is expected to be complete by the end of the year.
“Land is real expensive, but the real big thing is finding land that is buildable,” Dave Olson said. “It’s either very, very expensive or there’s a lot of red tape to go through to the point where you can build. There’s wetland issues and just a lot of different circumstances.”
He said the city-owned land he is planning to acquire is buildable and already has utilities in the area.
“Land is pretty hard to find in town,” Olson said.
Under the Vacant to Value land grant program, would-be owners must occupy the new house once it is complete. The city requires a deposit, detailed construction plans and proof of financing to acquire the property. Participants enter into a development agreement with the city, and once occupancy requirements are met, the deposit is refunded.
Olson said he encourages people who are planning to build to check out the program.
“Superior’s been just really good working with us,” Olson said. “They helped us through the process pretty good so far. It seems like everyone with the city, across the board, has been encouraging so far.”
The plan commission approved transferring the land and waiving the land sale process to give the couple the property when it met Sept. 15. The council will consider the commission’s recommendation Oct. 5.
“I think that it’s great that the property is being used,” plan commissioner Dennis Dalbec said.