05-038-O                                                          AS AMENDED

ORDINANCE NO. __________



The city of Duluth does ordain:

     Section 1. That Chapter 2 of the Duluth City Code, 1959, as amended, be amended by adding a new Article XXXIII to read as follows:

Article XXXIII. Alienation of Land.

Sec. 2-175. Sale of land, price.

     The city may alienate its real property, or any interest therein, and shall do so in compliance with law, the Charter and this ordinance [Article]. It is the policy of the city to sell or lease its land for fair market value. The lowest price for which land can be sold is $50.

     Vacation of public highways shall be done as set out in Section 100 of the Charter, or its successor, and the City Code.

Sec. 2-176. Sale by bidding.

     Alienation of other interests in land, including fee interests and leasehold interests of 20 years or longer and leasing land for more than 20 years, but excluding the granting of utility and road easements, shall be accomplished by the following procedure:

     (a)  The mayor or his/her designee, by notice filed with the clerk, or the council, by resolution, shall designate a specifically described parcel to be surplus to the city’s needs and available for disposal;

     (b)  The city assessor shall furnish a written opinion, and the basis for it, of the fair market value of the property at the time of the designation;

     (c)  Should the city propose to exchange the property for property held by another government unit, the mayor or his/her designee shall provide to the council a written description of the transaction, including the value of the property to be acquired;

     (d)  If the property is not to be exchanged for property held by another government unit, then it shall be sold. The sale shall be initiated by the city council, by resolution of the city council, or by the mayor or his/her designee, by notice filed with the clerk. The resolution or notice, as the case may be, shall identify the parcel or parcels offered and the assessor’s opinion of value and the minimum acceptable bid;

     (e)  After sale is initiated, unless the council has determined to proceed without bids, as allowed under Section 2-177, the city administration shall advertise for sealed bids for the property, specifying a minimum acceptable bid, payment terms, property description and requirements for bidders. There shall be a minimum period of at least 20 days to respond to the bid advertisement;

     (f)  The property shall be sold to the highest responsible bidder. The bid shall be accepted by either resolution or ordinance and the transfer of property shall be done by ordinance, using the type of deed determined by the city attorney. The city has the right to reject all bids, deficient bids and nonconforming bids.

Sec. 2-177. Alternative price.

     At the time sale is initiated, or later, the council may, by vote of at least seven five members, and for reasons stated in a resolution so passed, determine to sell the property for an amount less than the highest bid, or to a bidder other than the highest responsible bidder, or without bids. All resolutions and ordinances are subject to the veto procedure set out in the Charter.

Sec. 2-178. Adjacent owner exemption.

     If, due to existing laws or regulations, no building can be legally constructed on a parcel, the city may sell such a parcel to an adjacent owner without using the procedure set out in Section 2-168, above. However, the sale must be for fair market value as determined by the council, after advice from the city assessor, and stated in a resolution or ordinance duly passed. If more than one adjacent owner requests the property, the council may divide the parcel and sell part to one or more adjacent owners. An adjacent owner is one who owns property that is contiguous with the parcel being sold and is not separated from it by a street, alley, railroad or similar improvement. A sale under this Section requires the affirmative vote of at least seven five members of the council.

     Section 2. That this ordinance shall take effect 30 days after its passage and publication.

STATEMENT OF PURPOSE:  This ordinance creates a fair process for selling land.