Cleveland woman fights for vacant land next door, loses to development project

Residents must follow application process

CLEVELAND - Carrie Williams of Cleveland was waiting for the vacant home next door to finally be torn down, a nuisance property that attracted crime and nearly exploded following a gas leak.

It was her dream to buy the vacant lot and expand her property.

"I wanted to put in a fence and a little pond," Williams said. "It would be wonderful, now that the vacant house is gone."

But Williams was left stunned when she learned the vacant parcel was sold to the Cleveland Housing Network and there were plans to build a new home on the property.

Williams told NewsChannel5 she contacted her Cleveland Councilman Tony Brancatelli and was told to keep checking back on the properties availability.

"Our neighborhood really kept that vacant house safe until it was finally torn down," said Williams. "We kept the grass cut and secured the vacant land, and then to find out that I'm not going to get this property, that's horrible."

NewsChannel5 contacted Brancatelli, and he responded immediately.

Brancatelli explained residents do have the right to fill-out an application with the City of Cleveland Community Development Office , or their neighborhood community development corporation when parcels become vacant land.

Unfortunately, Williams did not file the proper application with the city. The only appellation submitted for the lot came from the Cleveland Housing Network.

Brancatelli told NewsChannel5 the housing network has just received a grant to build 40 new homes in Cleveland on vacant lots that were once occupied by condemned homes.

Brancatelli apologized for the confusion and applauded Carrie Williams for her effort in taking an active role in her neighborhood. He urged residents to file the application when interested in vacant land.

Meanwhile, NewsChannel5 is also trying to spark neighborhood involvement by residents, who can make a difference when it comes to vacant and condemned properties.

We're inviting residents to report nuisance properties through our Building Better Neighborhood initiative.

Just send us pictures and information on vacant homes in your neighborhood and we'll forward the information to your city building department, in an effort to move the properties to progress.

We are also giving residents information on how they can volunteer in their neighborhoods to make them better. Those interested in starting a volunteer effort in their neighborhood should contact Hands on Northeast Ohio for more information.

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