Mike Preston's report card in Week 3
The Baltimore Sun

Mudslide properties up for auction

In order to recoup million of dollars in litigation expenses connected to the 2005 mudslides that damaged several homes in Northeast Glendale, officials plan to auction off two city-owned properties this month.

Glendale acquired several hillside parcels as a result of a $12-million payout to residents whose homes were damaged in a January 2005 mudslide that swamped Glenmore Boulevard and Gladys Drive during heavy rains.

“We didn't seek them out,” Councilman Ara Najarian said of the parcels during a City Council meeting this week. But since the city paid for them, it might as well get some revenue out of the land, he added.

The council voted unanimously to sell the properties at an auction at City Hall on June 26.

The city combined the parcels into two properties. One contains two homes and another has one home and two plots that currently are unsuitable for development. Both properties are set to be auctioned off for a minimum bid of $350,000.

The proceeds would help recoup expenses that compounded for the city after several residents filed lawsuits against the city alleging inadequate infrastructure failed to protect their properties against the flow of mud and water.

The lawsuit payouts sapped funds from the city's liability insurance fund. Selling the properties could help refill the fund, which is currently operating at a multimillion-dollar deficit, officials said.

Attempts to auction one of the properties — which includes a 1,346-square-foot, ranch style home at 765 Glenmore Blvd. and a 3,585 square-foot, modern-style home at 1652 Gladys Dr. — failed to sell last July.

In response, the city has lowered the minimum bid by $50,000.

The city has also repaired damage to parts of the second property, which includes one 2,719-square-foot, ranch-style home at 749 Glenmore Blvd. and two plots at 1644 and 1648 Gladys Dr. that city officials say aren't suitable for development.

Before the homes can be reoccupied, new owners will have to fix a number of issues, said Public Works Director Steve Zurn, including repairing slope damage and doing hazard mitigation work, according to a city report.

Prospective buyers can view the properties on June 20 by calling (818) 548-3945 to set up an appointment.

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