Public Land for Housing

Jurisdictions with surplus property may consider partnering with affordable housing providers to develop affordable housing on the property. While Washington State’s constitution bars cities from selling property to private entities below market value, there is an exception if the property is used to directly benefit the “poor and infirm”. Another option is selling properties at current market value for redevelopment that are likely to rapidly appreciate in the near term, a case of particular significance for areas surrounding new transit stations.

Some jurisdictions choose to take a more active role, acquiring or facilitating the acquisition and redevelopment of abandoned properties. Establishing a land bank or land trust are options to consider in this case.

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