ABILENE, Texas (KTAB) – After nearly a decade of work, the City of Abilene is making progress on selling property lining Lake Fort Phantom Hill. They’ve broken the properties into five main sections, and the final group of lots should be up for sale this year.
A snag has come up with some of the final properties, one that the City Council will possibly remedy with an ordinance change. Six lots on Wit’s End are smaller than a half acre, and have their own septic systems. Under current ordinances, that’s not allowed. State law says that such properties can be grandfathered in, and the City is working towards an ordinance change to meet the same conclusion.
“We’re rewriting the ordinance specifically for these lots.”, says interim Assistant City Manager Michael Rice. With that change, these residents will, “have the same privileges the other lessees have. The opportunity to buy their lot.”
Once state law changed and allowed the City to sell directly to lessees, plans to sell off the lakefront properties went into motion. At this time, the lots are only being offered to those people who are currently leasing the lots from the City. That opportunity has been offered for many of the lots for some time already.
Land Manager Travis McClure explains, “By offering these lots for sale, the folks that bought them own their lots, just the same as anybody in town would. They own the house, they own the lot.” However, of the nearly 300 lots that have been offered, not all have been purchased yet.
There’s still some time to decide what will happen next. There is still a final section of lots to sell. In addition, there are an estimated half-dozen more lots that are not being leased, which will go up for sale after the occupied lots. A year after the lots have all been offered, the City Council will step in.
“It will be City Council’s decision to tell us what to do with the folks that have been given the opportunity to buy their lot, but have chosen not to do that.”, says McClure. One possible outcome may be that the leases can continue, but the land would need to be purchased in order to sell the house.
The final section marks the end of a ten year process. The City will continue to move all lots to private ownership, and will also consider selling larger parcels of land in the area for further development.