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City of Sacramento considering vacancy tax to spur development of empty parcels

City of Sacramento considering tax to spur development of empty parcels
City of Sacramento considering tax to spur development of empty parcels 02:05

SACRAMENTO - The city of Sacramento is considering adding a new tax to spark development on its empty parcels sitting dormant.

There are a lot of them in Sacramento.

The tax would punish land owners who have undeveloped land with no construction or building permit applications in process. 

Heidi Halderman has lived in the Woodlake neighborhood of North Sacramento for 49 years. The vacant lot across the street from her home has become part of her neighborhood landscape.

"These guys have not been able to raise enough money to start it, and that's been five years' worth," Haldeman said. 

Sacramento began to keep a registry of its vacant lots 5 years ago.  A city map shows where they are located.  There are 3,600 empty parcels. 982 are located in North Sacramento, the most of any area in the city.

Daniel Savala is the executive director of the Del Paso Boulevard Partnership, seeking to revitalize North Sacramento. 

"How big of a problem are vacant parcels in this area?" CBS13's Steve Large asked.

"They're pretty significant -- they send a message," Savala said. 

Some of the problem vacant properties are owned by the city, transferred more than a decade ago when the state dissolved redevelopment agencies. 

"It shows you that the city has a role to play in redevelopment," Savala said. 

A new vacant parcel tax would require a 67% approval from city voters.

Other cities with vacant parcel taxes are San Francisco, Oakland, Richmond, Santa Cruz and Los Angeles.

Turning blight into beauty. Is a new tax enough to do the trick? 

"I'd like to see a vivid art community," Halderman said.

Sacramento's Law and Legislation committee is going to dive into this vacant property tax idea Tuesday evening.

City staff estimates the tax could raise $20 million a year.

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